Austria, a mountainous landlocked country located in the heart of Europe is a great place for expats to explore. It is blessed with breathtaking Austrian Alps, and cultural cities. Whether you’re heading there to travel through the Austrian mountains or start a job in the bustling city of Vienna, Austria’s healthcare system is designed to look after everyone. It has highly skilled medical professionals operating within both public and private hospitals, so you should be able to access good quality care from anywhere in the country.
The healthcare system in Austria is made up of two tiers, public and private. The vast majority of individuals receive publicly funded healthcare, but there are also options to purchase supplementary private healthcare insurance.
Wherever you move to, healthcare will always be a priority. Fortunately for expats, Austria enjoys a high standard of healthcare, known for its high quality and universality. Austria’s public healthcare covers nearly 100% of the Austrian population.1
The vast majority of people in Austria use the public healthcare system as it is renowned across Europe for it being excellent, affordable and accessible. The Ministry of Social Affairs, Health, Care and Consumer Protection governs the medical industry.
Access to the public healthcare system is very simple, it is linked to employment. Typically, your insurance is arranged through your employer, and monthly payments are deducted from your salary. The healthcare system is funded 50% by the employee and 50% by the employer, so both the employee and employer pay monthly payments. Employers are responsible for enrolling staff on the public health insurance. It is not possible for you to pick which insurance company you are insured with; however, it is possible to purchase supplementary private health insurance if you feel you need an extra level of support.
Once registered, insurance companies will send out E-cards that store your claims, medications and medical histories. You should make sure you can access this before your first healthcare appointment.
Having health insurance is compulsory (Pflichtversicherung). The amount an individual pays towards their healthcare is calculated by their income. Factors such as previous health conditions or lifestyle choices are not taken into consideration. However healthcare is free for those people who are pensioners, spouses of workers, on unemployment benefits, or people who are unable to work for other extenuating reasons. Tourists and temporary visitors can access Austrian healthcare; however, they may pay full price. If a person is out of work, they must be registered with the local labour exchange service AMS (Arbeitmarktservice), so the insurance will be covered by the government. Otherwise, every doctor’s appointment will need to be paid for.
You can also access the public healthcare in Austria using a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC). These cards allow you to access Austrian public healthcare on the same basis as an Austrian citizen but are only for temporary stays.
Local authorities provide emergency care in Austria as part of the public health system. Anyone living in the country is entitled to emergency healthcare. So, as an expat it’s a good idea to take note of the following numbers:
Emergency medical service: 141
European emergency number: 112
Austria also has a public emergency psychiatric hotline: 01 313 30
And, its own suicide prevention hotline: 01 713 3374.
There is no shortage of Pharmacies (Apotheke) in Austria. Usually your doctor will write you a prescription (Rezept), which you can take to any pharmacy to get filled. If your insurance is public you will be required to pay at normal market prices, but with private, you will be reimbursed dependent on your level of cover.
Opening hours in Austrian pharmacies vary. There is usually a late-night pharmacy in your neighbourhood. It is worth noting however that late-night pharmacies- can be located quite far away and generally have higher service fees. To find your local pharmacy you can use this tool.
Medication can be bought in pharmacies and online shops such as Apotheke.at. Depending on the type of medication, you can scan the prescriptions and order home delivery. Drug stores or supermarkets don’t tend to sell medication. The majority of medication can only be bought once you have gained a prescription from your doctor. Austria has very strict policies when buying medication over the counter.
Austria is home to many good quality dentists countrywide. For dentists who speak your language you may need to be around a major city.
The Austrian Dental Chamber is a useful tool to search for dentists in your area no matter where you live. Public insurance includes dental care; however, the particulars of coverage vary. Generally, public insurance covers the very basics of dental care, but you should check with your insurance provider to confirm this first. If you want any specialised treatment you will need to pay for it out of pocket.
Don’t forget to take your health insurance card or E-card with you to your appointments, as this will help you avoid paying extra fees.
When you arrive in Austria, it’s important to first register with a doctor. You can find doctors through Praxisplan. This comprehensive site provides information on medical professionals in all regions of the country. You can also set parameters like ‘language’ and ‘speciality’. Fortunately, in Austria, you can choose any doctor you wish to see. It is worth noting that not all facilities can accept new patients as sometimes the capacity is already limited. It is also only possible to change doctors after 3 months.
Bookimed also provides details of doctors listed by their specialties, as well as some information on their backgrounds.
Once you’ve found a general practitioner in your area, you can book an appointment to have a check-up. This way you can set yourself, and your family up, and establish a relationship with your doctor. When you go to the doctor’s office, you’ll need to take the e-card and photo ID for each person, if you are registering family members too.
Put simply, doctor’s fees will be covered by your insurance and taken directly from your wages from your insurance contribution. So, you do not need to pay any medical costs upfront. However, if you visit a private doctor without private insurance, this will incur fees.
Private healthcare in Austria is often used by those who either cannot use public healthcare or are self-employed and choose to opt out. Private healthcare is also used by those who want it to complement their public insurance. Generally, private healthcare means shorter waiting times, wider physician choice, and the choice of public or private clinics and hospitals. Although the quality of care does not vary hugely, the comfort of care might. It is worth noting that only a small section of the Austrian population utilises private insurance.
To sign up for private health insurance, you should do your research and find the best company and policy for your needs. Then, you’ll need to follow their individual process for signing up. Depending on the insurance policy, some clinics won’t charge you fees; some, however, will ask you to pay, submit your receipts, and then get a reimbursement. Be sure to do your homework and understand the process of getting, and paying for, medical care.
Moving to any country can be hard work and complicated, our annual cover is designed to give you the peace of mind you need. We offer cover for both emergency and routine healthcare giving you the security you need wherever life takes you. Gain flexibility in your choice of doctor or treatment facilities and the ability to receive treatment anywhere within your region of cover.
Are you travelling to Austria for a few months or maybe you’re moving there indefinitely but you haven’t decided where to live yet? Get cover with AXA Global healthcare for less than 12 months and have exactly the same cover as with the yearly Standard cover level – just for less time. Choose any time period from 3 to 11 months so you’re only paying for the cover you need.
With stunning natural landscapes, picturesque villages and cultural cities Austria boasts charming places to visit, great food and drink, and an abundance of culture. We want to make sure you enjoy every minute by offering you comprehensive health insurance to suit your needs.
Getting an in-person appointment when in a foreign country can be difficult and daunting. With our Virtual doctor service, you can get in touch with qualified doctors, whenever it suits you, via video or phone 2.
Compensation should be simple. Provided we have all the right information, around 80% of all eligible claims are paid within 48 hours3. So, you can get back to enjoying all that Austria has to offer.
Our team can arrange medical evacuation and repatriation services to get you the help you need, if you can’t get the treatment you need locally.
Moving away from home and settling in a new country can be a challenging experience. With our dedicated mental health support service, you can connect with qualified professionals no matter where you are in Austria.4
For those moments when you just aren’t quite sure of a diagnosis or treatment plan, you can get an independent second opinion from experts.5
We offer a range of global health plans, with emergency dental and medical scans (CT, PET, MRI) as standard. We also offer ambulance transport, hospital stays and emergency surgery. Choose the right level of cover that suits your new life in Austria.
Whether you’re planning city life in the beautiful Vienna, or Salzburg, our plans can be tailored to your needs, wherever your journey takes you. Here are some examples of how our International health packages could be suited to your needs:
For working professionals in Austria, we give you one less thing to think about. Many of our plans include eye tests, and a range of outpatient services. From prescriptions to hospital visits, we’ll give you one less thing to worry about during your day-to-day life.
If you’re looking to start a new chapter in Austria, our annual plans are perfect for families with different budgets. We offer coverage that includes routine and non-routine dental check-ups, vaccinations, asthma treatments, prescriptions and glasses. You can also opt to choose a package that includes maternity and pregnancy benefits.
For retirees wanting some extra safety and security, we offer cover with annual health check-ups, palliative care and continued coverage for chronic health conditions, giving you and your family financial peace of mind.
*Lines are open Monday to Friday, 8am-5pm (GMT).
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2 The virtual doctor service is provided by Teladoc Health. Appointments are subject to availability. You do not need to pay or claim for a consultation, but you will be charged for the cost of the initial phone call when using the call back service. You won’t be charged if you request a call back using the app or online portal. Telephone appointments are available 24/7/365 and call-backs are typically within 24 hours. Telephone appointments in Greek are available between 09:00 and 21:00 EET, 7 days a week. Video appointments in English, Spanish and Mandarin are available between 08.00 and 00.00 UK time, Monday to Friday. Video appointments in German are available between 08:00 -20:00 CET, Monday to Friday.
3 80.9% of eligible claims submitted online between January 2022 and December 2022 were paid within 2 days
4 The Mind Health service is proved by Teladoc Health. This service provides you with access to six sessions with a psychologist, per mind health concern, per policy year. Mind Health psychologist appointments are available in English and Spanish between Monday and Friday, 09.00 - 17.30 (UK time).
5 The Second Medical Opinion service is provided by Teladoc Health