Austria: How the Healthcare System is Structured
Healthcare in Austria is primarily public, with the option to obtain private health insurance. Overseen by the Ministry of Social Affairs, Health, Care, and Consumer Protection, most people access public health insurance by paying a portion of their salary. However, for those with low or no income, healthcare is free. Overall, the healthcare provided is affordable, accessible, and of a very high standard.
Healthcare in Austria is accessible to everyone within its borders. Therefore, healthcare is universal for all legal residents, no matter their age or income bracket. Tourists and temporary visitors can access Austria healthcare, however, they may pay full price. As always, it’s a good idea to have travel insurance when visiting a new country.
The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)
The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is available to residents of the EU. This allows you to access state-provided healthcare in any of the 27 EU countries. So, for example, an Italian person visiting Austria would be able to access the same public healthcare (including any lower costs) as a native Austrian. However, it’s important to keep in mind that services or prescriptions that are free in one country might not be free in other countries, so be sure to do your research.
How can Expats register for Austria healthcare
Registering for healthcare in Austria is incredibly easy: you just have to get employed and your monthly payments will be automatically deducted. Once you get a job, your employer is responsible for enrolling you in public health insurance.
After you register, your health insurance company will mail you an E-Card that keeps track of your claims, medications, and medical histories. You should take this with you to any medical appointments. Essentially, this is your health insurance card.
How Does Private healthcare in Austria Works?
Private healthcare in Austria is available for those who either cannot or would rather not use public healthcare. Generally, private healthcare means no 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.
For example, with private insurance, you can ensure that you have a private or a double hospital room, instead of sharing a room with several other people. Most people who have private insurance use it as a supplement to public insurance.
Doctors and specialists in Austria
Austria healthcare is renowned across Europe and the world for having top-notch doctors and hospitals. In fact, Austria is one of the few countries that isn’t experiencing a doctor shortage. Most of your healthcare in Austria will go through your General Physician (GP). Additionally, if you need to see a specialist or get hospital treatment, they would likely be the one to provide a referral.
Children’s healthcare in Austria
Children’s healthcare in Austria is routed through General Physicians and General Pediatricians who have a long-term relationship with the child. However, for more serious issues, your doctor may refer you to one of Austria’s children’s hospitals or to the bigger university hospitals. The good news is that whether your child needs help with a common cold or something more serious, they will be in good hands.
Other forms of healthcare available in Austria
If you are looking for complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), such as acupuncture, homeopathy, or herbology, you have a few options because the field is growing in Austria. In fact, more and more doctors are choosing to train in CAM so that they can provide their patients with the best of both worlds. Therefore, if you are looking to try a certain alternative medicine, start by asking your GP if they practice alternative medicine, or if they can recommend someone who does.