The Austrian healthcare system is excellent, affordable, easily accessible and recognised worldwide for its high quality. Only few countries in the European Union spend as much on healthcare as Austria.
You have access to medical aid anywhere, anytime.
Sounds good, right? We explain the basics to you.
TYPES OF HEALTH INSURANCE:
PUBLIC OR PRIVATE?
In general, you have two options: public insurance alone, or public insurance complemented by supplemental private insurance. When you choose the public insurance alone, you contribute small co-payments for treatment from a wide selection of doctors and public hospitals. With supplemental private insurance, you have the option of consulting private doctors, with potentially higher fees in specific cases being covered fully or in part depending on your insurance.
Public health insurance
If you are employed in Austria, you have a compulsory public health insurance. Austria’s health insurance is primarily public. This means there are no increased rates or exclusions for pre-existing conditions, or lifetime caps on coverage. You can access public health insurance by paying a portion of your salary. This applies to everyone: you just have to get employed and your monthly payments will be automatically deducted. Your employer is responsible for enrolling you in public health insurance. For those with low or no income, healthcare is free. The rate of contributions is independent of nationality, place of residence in Austria or individual medical risk factors. However, you are not free to choose your public insurer. This is determined by your occupation. The comprehensive coverage of the public insurance includes high-quality treatment for everything from the common cold to heart surgery, plus free yearly check-ups for adults and support for moms to be. After you register, your health insurance company will mail you an E-Card that keeps track of your claims, medications, and your medical history. It is very important that you have your E- Card always with you, especially for your medical appointments.
Private health insurance
In addition to public health insurance, you can choose a private healthcare insurance. This has some advantages, such as almost no waiting times, a wider choice of physicians, and freedom of choice between public or private clinics and hospitals. Although a private insurance has no impact on the quality of care, you have a better comfort of care. For example, you can choose a private or a double room in a hospital, instead of sharing a room with other people. Most people who have private insurance use it as a supplement to public insurance. The market for private health insurance providers in Austria is huge. In general, the older you are the more you will pay. For example, the insurance for children below 18 could cost around €30 per month. However, for someone above 65 the insurance may cost more than €500 per month. Additional factors include both gender and pre-existing conditions.
COVERAGE IN (LOWER) AUSTRIA
Most of your healthcare will be handled by your General Physician (GP). Additionally, if you need to see a specialist (Facharzt) or get hospital treatment, your GP (Hausarzt) will provide a referral. Comprehensive medical care is guaranteed throughout Austria. In Lower Austria alone are 27 hospitals (Landeskliniken) and 48 nursing and care centres. 99% of the Lower Austrian population is just 45 minutes away from their local healthcare centre. More than 3,800 doctors, specialists, and a staff of over 26,000 people make sure that every patient receives the best possible treatment.
Lower Austria is also home to 21 health centres and spas with natural healing resources.
In the health centres, you benefit from many years of experience in preventive health care in order to optimize your lifestyle and maintain your vitality for as long as possible. Individual approaches and tailor-made therapies offer the ideal environment for preventive healthcare.
Here is a selection:
WHAT TO DO IN AN EMERGENCY?
If you ever find yourself in an emergency or if you witness an emergency, the most important thing to do is to stay calm. Assess the situation, get out your phone, and dial the appropriate emergency number:
- Police: 133
- Ambulance (Red Cross): 144
- Fire department: 122
- If you can’t remember the specific number, dial 112 (the Europe-wide emergency number)
If you had an accident and go to the hospital yourself, there are usually two emergency entrances. One is called ‘Unfall Ambulanz’ and is specialised in trauma injuries like a broken bone. The other one is called ‘Notfall Ambulanz’ (NFA) and is specialised in internal emergencies like heart attacks or strokes. Keep in mind that registration is always required when entering a hospital as a patient, so it is important that you take your E-Card and an ID card with you.
GETTING YOUR MEDICATION
In 2019, there were a total of 1,380 public pharmacies (Apotheke) in Austria, 240 of them in Lower Austria alone. In addition, 895 branch pharmacies were available to patients for the supply of medicines. Due to the steady increase in the number of pharmacies, the supply of medicines to Austrians is constantly improving. Around 95% of Austrians reach their pharmacy within 10 minutes.
- Opening hours are typically: Monday–Friday 8 am – 6 pm and Saturday 8 am – 12 am.
- A certain number of 24-hour pharmacies are always available any day of the week. You will find specific information regarding location and hours posted at your local pharmacy or online.
- Pharmacies have strict laws on which drugs can be freely purchased and those that require prescriptions (Rezept). Doctors may prescribe orders over the phone and email and put the receipt directly on your E-Card. You may also call pharmacies to order your prescription and ask them to make it available for pickup.
- In the public insurance system, you are charged a general prescription fee (currently € 6.50) when obtaining medicine from a pharmacy with a doctor’s prescription.
- Do not be surprised if the pharmacist asks more questions than you may be used to. In Austria, pharmacists take a direct role in deciding what medicines to recommend to patients. Based on your symptoms, they may offer something better suited to your case.
- You can search for pharmacies in different Austrian regions
Do you need help?
Do you have a job offer in Lower Austria?
Or would you like to invest or start up a business here?
We will assist you with your plans and guide you through the process.