Healthcare in Austria



Austria is a small country with a modern and efficient healthcare system. Its strong social security scheme is composed of three areas - health, pension and accident insurance.

Expatriates who are relocating to Austria will find that services from top medical experts are easily accessible to all nationals and temporary residents regardless of age and income. Under Austrian law, in any emergency situation, regardless of insurance status entitles you to receive treatment in any health organization (public or private). 

If you are part of the labor force, your employer is required to process your enrolment within seven days from the start of your job in the district health insurance fund or Gebietskrankenkasse. Premium calculations are based on income. Coverage for all employees includes basic medical treatment and medication, dental medication, stays in public hospitals and specialist consultations. If you have a family, they are automatically covered through your insurance. As German is the national language, is mainly used in hospitals, but do not worry as most Austrian doctors speak English too.

Mandatory public health insurance is deducted and equivalent to 24% of monthly salary. These compulsory deductions for the Austrian public health care are called "social insurance contributions". However, they do not include the operational cost of hospitals that are paid through taxes, which makes insurance more costly in Austria. Independent contractors will need to register at the Social Insurance for the Industrial Economy or Sozialversicherung der gewerblichen Wirtschaft. For more information, visit their website.


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European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)

Expats who have a valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) are eligible to receive state funded medical treatment in Austria for free or at a reduced price. The scheme intends to eliminate the necessity for a traveler to return home to get medical care. Applications for EHIC are free.  

How to get medical help

In cases of illness and accidents, you can freely visit a doctor in Austria. A Termin or appointment is recommended. Wait times can be long, but out of pocket payments are unnecessary if treated by registered doctors from the social insurance scheme. To be sure that the practitioner is registered under the system, check for the sign saying Kassenarzt or Alle Kassen or you can ask prior to making an appointment.

Previously, you needed to give a Krankenschein or a health insurance voucher/certificate to the general practitioner costing approximately €3.63 per voucher. Today, to access state health care, all you need to do is present your e-card (which also acts as EHIC) issued by Gebietskrankenkasse to replace the Krankenschein or vouchers. The electronic card allows easy monitoring of health claims, paperless access to treatment, and is used as identification or as a citizen card (an electronic signature, date of birth and social security number is incorporated into the card).

Also, a referral slip or Überweisungsschein will be provided by the general practitioner if you need to see a specialist.

Emergency Numbers

Austrians dial 144 for medical emergencies. Treatment is free to stabilize a patient, however, once the patient is admitted, fees will be incurred. The decision to be admitted will depend on the patient. It is important to note that hospital fees are costly in Austria. Payments are made by the insured or the insurance company.


Contrary to your habit of buying medicines from drugstores in your home country, Austrian drugstores, Drogerie, sell toiletries, herbal products and vitamins. Medicines can be bought in dispensing chemists or pharmacies (known as Apotheke). Austrian laws for prescriptions are stringent and only doctors and specialists are authorized to give a prescription or Rezept.



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