Your guide to private and public health insurance in Austria
What’s the best kind of health insurance in Austria? We investigated the types of health insurance plans, what they cost, and much more.
6 min read
Do you live and work in Austria? If so, you don’t just need to open a bank account — you also need to square away your health insurance. That’s because every person in Austria is obliged to have statutory health insurance. Given this, you might be wondering which kind of health insurance is right for you. The short answer is: it depends on your job. Read on for answers to all your burning questions about health insurance — like how much health insurance in Austria costs and how to go about choosing the right plan.
Statutory and private health insurance in Austria — what’s the difference?
Let’s start with the key question: What kinds of health insurance actually exist in Austria? In some countries, such as Germany, you can divide health insurers into two groups — statutory and private health insurance funds. This distinction doesn’t exist in Austria, as everyone is covered by the former. However, you have the option of taking out the following supplementary insurance policies on a private basis:
- Insurance for the doctor of your choice, which includes the free choice of doctor, better coverage, and shorter waiting times.
- Hospital insurance for additional benefits for when you’re in the hospital
- Additional packages (e.g. for travel or children)
You can only take out these insurance policies in conjunction with statutory health insurance. In other words, they simply supplement the basic provision. Statutory insurance coverage includes:
- Medical check-ups
- Medical treatment
- Residential care
- Dental treatment
- Sick pay
- Benefits in kind and monetary benefits (for maternity leave)
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How much does health insurance cost in Austria?
In Austria, the healthcare system is financed through monthly contributions from insurees. The amount of these contributions depends on the insuree’s income. If you’re an employee at a company, the monthly contribution towards statutory health insurance is 7.65 percent: the employee covers 3.87 percent, while the employer covers 3.78 percent.
Conversely, the costs of private supplementary insurance depend highly on the additional benefits included — we’re talking in the region of €45 to €100 a month for adults and €30 a month for children.
If you don’t have an income, statutory health insurance in Austria costs €478.82 a month, as of 2023, and is known as “self-insurance.” You can only apply for a discount on this if you are in serious financial difficulty.
Which health insurance provider should I choose?
You might be wondering which provider in Austria is best suited to your needs. Fortunately, you’ll likely be assigned to a statutory health insurance provider based on your professional group. If you’re an employee, your employer will generally handle your healthcare provision. Children not subject to compulsory insurance, and other relatives can usually be included under your insurance plan.
Can I go to a doctor in Austria if I don’t have health insurance?
In principle, you can still see a doctor in Austria even if you don’t have health insurance. That said, if you can’t provide evidence of your health insurance in the form of an e-card, you’ll normally have to pay the costs of any treatment out of pocket. If you can’t afford it, the doctor in question is only obliged to treat you in an emergency.
What happens to your health insurance in Austria after you’ve left your job?
When you leave a job in Austria, you’re entitled to be treated by your doctor for up to six weeks after this point; this is covered by your health insurer. You’re also entitled to sick pay for up to three weeks after you’ve left your job. It doesn’t matter who ended the employment relationship — the health insurance provider covers the costs during this period.
How can I find my regional insurance company?
It used to be the case in Austria that people were designated to a statutory health insurance provider based on their region of residence. But following the structural reform of social security on January 1, 2020, regional health insurance funds have become a thing of the past. Now, your profession determines your health insurance provider. Today, Austria is home to the following health insurance funds:
- Österreichische Gesundheitskasse (ÖGK) [The Austrian health insurance fund]
- Versicherungsanstalt öffentlich Bediensteter, Eisenbahn und Bergbau (BVAEB) [Austrian insurance fund for civil or public servants, miners, and persons employed with the federal railways]
- Sozialversicherungsanstalt der Selbstständigen (SVS) [Social insurance company for the self-employed]
What is the Österreichische Gesundheitskasse?
Following the fund reform in 2020, employees (excluding the self-employed) are no longer covered by the various regional funds. Instead, they are covered by the Österreichische Gesundheitskasse. With 7.2 million policyholders, it’s the largest health insurer in Austria. It’s primarily funded by contributions from employers, employees, and pensioners.
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Which Austrian health insurance provider is suitable for me?
Your health insurance situation differs depending on whether you’re an employee, self-employed, a student, or a cross-border commuter in Austria. It’s often possible to determine which provider is right for you based on the insurer’s name. That said, there are instances where it’s not so easy to determine which insurer is suitable for whom. Here’s a summary of the key differences.
Which health insurance do self-employed workers in Austria need?
If you’re self-employed or a freelancer, you need to take out insurance with the Sozialversicherungsanstalt für Selbstständige (SVS) if your annual profits are more than €6,010.92. Health insurance contributions must be paid directly by self-employed workers and freelancers, with the SVS setting the precise amount on a quarterly basis. The SVS is also responsible for farmers running agricultural enterprises.
Which health insurance is suitable for students in Austria?
Austrian students at universities can also opt to be self-insured. Don’t worry: this doesn’t mean you need to have tons of savings in your student account. Student health insurance in Austria costs as little as €66.79 a month (as at 2023). If you come from a different European country and want to study in Austria, you can simply continue to use your plan here. That said, you’ll need a European health insurance card, so make sure to apply for this before your move.
What’s the situation with health insurance in Austria for expats?
As mentioned, health insurance is mandatory in Austria — even expats need to have it, regardless of their residence status. If you’re an expat employed by an Austrian employer, they’ll generally deal with your health insurance for you.
Do cross-border commuters need Austrian health insurance?
If you’re a cross-border commuter, you’re not obligated to take out health insurance in Austria. In other words, if you live in Austria but work in Germany, you don’t need to have health insurance in Austria. Instead, you should be covered by health insurance in the country where you work. In our example, you’d need to have health insurance in Germany, regardless of where you live.
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