Health insurance is a must in Austria and the first thing you will be asked for when applying for any residence permit or visa. Everyone who is residing within Austria’s borders must have health insurance. So, whether you are a expat, tourist, a student, unemployed, you need insurance. Expats and other foreigners living in Austria can choose between public and private insurance coverage.
Health insurance in Austria is mandatory, 99% of the country’s population has health insurance. It’s divided into two sectors: public and private. Every resident can choose between both. Foreign nationals will need an insurance policy before traveling to Austria when applying for a visa.
What is the best insurance for a foreigner living or moving to Austria? Generally, public health insurance covers most people in Austria, while some decide to opt for a private provider. Read this article to learn about health insurance in Austria and which provider is right for you.
Health insurance and healthcare system in Austria
The healthcare system in Austria is very robust and provides excellent medical services for locals and expats alike. Most of its residents have public health insurance, but you also have a choice to opt for private coverage. Furthermore, some people choose to have both.
All employees in Austria become subject to the corresponding social security obligations, which include health insurance. The amount will be deducted from your salary automatically.
Everyone with public health insurance receives a so-called “e-Card,” which is shown at the doctor’s practice or hospital. The medical costs are billed directly to the insurance provider. With private insurance, you will pay the expenses first and request reimbursement after.
Who needs a health insurance in Austria?
Well, everyone needs valid health insurance when coming to Austria. However, depending on your nationality, you might be able to keep the coverage from your home country.
- EU/EEA countries or Switzerland – with a valid European Health Insurance Card (e-Card) you can use healthcare services in Austria similar to your home country.
- Non-EU/EEA countries – for all other nationals an Austrian or international insurance coverage in required. Furthermore, they will need to show proof of health insurance during the visa/residence permit application. This usually includes a letter from your insurance company confirming the coverage.
Consequently, everyone from non-EU countries or Switzerland will need to take out private or public health insurance for Austria.
Find your health insurance on Austria’s biggest comparison platform.
What is European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)?
All employees, students, and travelers from within the EU may benefit from public healthcare in Austria. European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) grants you access to the same healthcare and costs as a local Austrian. EHIC is commonly used across the entire EU.
For a temporary stay in Austria, you can apply for the EHIC with your local health insurance provider in your home country. This card gives you access to the necessary state-provided healthcare in Austria under the same conditions and at the same costs as someone insured in Austria.
Furthermore, if you have an Austrian E-Card, you will be able to access public health insurance within EU countries. For countries outside of the EU, however, you should make sure to get travel or expat insurance to protect you while abroad. Companies like Cigna Global or Care Concept offer optimal and cheapest policies.
Travel insurance for Austria
Travel insurance is required for your initial trip to Austria or visa application. Hence, before entry to Austria, you need to take out travel insurance that is valid in Austria from the day of your arrival for the duration of your stay has a minimum coverage of 30,000 EUR.
The insurance has to pay all medical costs directly in Austria. It’s not enough that the insurance provides reimbursement in your home country.
Applicants will need to show a confirmation of the insurance to the Austrian authority (when applying for your visa). Check out coverages from Cigna Global or Care Concept.
Health insurance for students
Students from non-EU countries can opt for private insurance from Care Concept, the cost of which is 51 EUR per month. Their coverage is sufficient to get a student visa and for living in Austria long-term.
Furthermore, if you are enrolled as a regular degree program student at an Austrian university, you can opt for public insurance provided by Austrian Gesundheitskasse. It will cost you 63,44 EUR monthly as of 2022.
The main requirements are a current place of residence in Austria and a current enrolment at an Austrian higher education institution. In contrast, students from European Union can keep their health insurance from their country of origin.
Main criteria for public insurance for students in Austria:
- Residence in Austria
- Annual income doesn’t exceed 5,814 EUR
- You haven’t studies before in Austria
- Changed course of study a maximum of two times
Public health insurance in Austria
Expats working in Austria and international students are eligible for public health insurance. In fact, employers are responsible for enrolling their staff in public health insurance. A portion of their monthly salary is automatically deducted for healthcare, as well as a pension and accident insurance.
Public health insurance is popular among every profession and age in Austria. If you are an employee, your monthly contribution will be deducted from your salary. As of 2022, the amount is 7,65%. Your employer also contributes half of this amount.
The maximal deductible amount is 433,76 EUR per month.
Furthermore, employees are obliged to pay for pension insurance, which is 22,80% of their salary. The minimal monthly amount for pension is 106,26 EUR, and the maximum is 1,292 EUR.
As you can see, almost 30% of the employee’s salary goes to health and pension insurance in Austria.
Public health insurance coverage
In Austria, public health insurance covers most medical costs related to check-ups and treatments. If you go to a private doctor, you might need to pay upfront.
In a nutshell, statutory health insurance covers the necessary medical treatments provided by contracted physicians, including general practitioners and specialists in hospitals and clinics. Billing is made directly with the insurance provider via E-card.
Find your health insurance on Austria’s biggest comparison platform.
Private health insurance in Austria
If you want more service and freedom, you can take out private health insurance in Austria. While public health insurance is included in the social security system and is intended to provide adequate treatment in the event of illness, private health insurance can be taken out in addition to or as the primary insurance.
Private health insurance is often cheaper than a public one. For example, students can take out coverage with Care Austria for a very reasonable price (51 EUR per month). It’s one of the best insurances for international students and expats in Austria.
Private health insurance is often referred to as supplementary insurance in Austria. Anyone living in Austria can take out private health insurance. However, expats, international students, or temporary visitors often take out private coverage as the main one. Such groups don’t always have access to public health insurance.
Benefits of private insurance
- ease of signing up
- single or double room in the hospital
- spouses and children up to the age of 18 can be insured free of charge.
- short waiting times for appointments and operations
- ambulance transport
- wide coverage of costs for medications
- coverage of alternative medicine, reimbursement of glasses costs & health-related aids such as crutches and dentures
- preventive treatments such as vaccinations, fitness & wellness offers
- supplementary dental insurance
- international travel health insurance
- contributions to the insurance are tax-deductible
Public insurance providers operate only offline, where you need to go to the office and fill out forms. In comparison, private providers offer their packages online for a convenient and fast sign-up. Check out Cigna Global and Care Concept if you need an uncomplicated health insurance provider in Austria.
Hence, international providers offering coverage in Austria include:
- Care Concept
- Cigna Global
Leading private insurance providers in Austria:
- Wiener Städtische
- Muki Versicherung
- Care Concept
Private health insurance coverage
Private health insurance, like any insurance, is made up of different tariffs and coverages. Usually, they range from basic to premium, and coverage is 100% comparable with public health insurance. You can individually define which benefits you want to be included.
Health insurance for expats in Austria
As an expat in Austria, you can sign for private health insurance. One of the best private insurances is Cigna Global – their offers are tailored for internationals living in Austria or traveling frequently. Cigna Global is the perfect global health insurance. Because Cigna insurance is international, you can use your policy not only in Austria but worldwide.
With 74,000 employees, 200 years of experience, and more than 100 million customers globally, Cigna is one of the largest international insurance providers in the world.
With that insurance, you can enjoy instant and easy access to healthcare facilities and professionals around the globe.
Cigna’s medical insurance for individuals and families offers 3 different product lines – Silver, Gold, and Platinum. Moreover, it’s the first choice for US citizens living abroad but seeking full elective US coverage. For anyone residing in Europe, it’s worth checking out Cigna’s options.
Reimbursement of the costs with Cigna Global
Claims can easily be uploaded into Cigna’s online member area and will be processed within 5 working days if all necessary documents are completed. Simple outpatient treatments don’t require prior approval by Cigna.
Hence, if you want an insurance provider with great customer service, a global hospital network, direct billing anywhere in the world, Cigna is a great option. Visit their website to learn more and choose the optimal coverage for your situation.
However, someone with pre-existing conditions will experience limitations with this company. It’s recommended to check other providers in Austria since such customers often get rejected by Cigna.
Cheapest insurance for Austria – Care Austria by Care Concept
Care Austria is coverage provided by Care Concept and is perfect for international students, language students, au pairs, expats, as well as just travelers and visitors in Austria. The monthly cost of Care Austria is just 51 EUR. You can choose between plans with unlimited or 364 days of coverage.
It’s 100% valid for submission to foreign authorities, embassies, consulates, and border stations. (in fact, I used it for my application).
Care Concept is a German company based in Bonn and has been on the market since 1999. Their offerings focus on short- to medium-term stays for foreigners in Europe and travelers worldwide.
Generally, they offer affordable overseas health and travel insurance for international students and visitors to Germany and Austria.
Moreover, the company offers insurance solutions for expatriates, language students, regular students, seasonal workers, business travelers, au pairs, and visitors.
Their packages are 100% valid for visa and resident permit applications. I used Care Austria for my application and kept the insurance for the entire three years I lived in Austria.
Another package you might be interested called Care Expatriate and is tailored particularly to expats in Austria and other European countries.
Coverage Care Austria
The range of benefits in Care Austria includes outpatient and inpatient treatment as well as dental treatments. This includes treatments by public and private doctors of your choice, as well as treatment in public and private hospitals.
Reimbursement is made according to the Austrian Health Insurance Fund regulations.
I have had the Care Austria insurance during the three years stay in Austria, and all my medical expenses were reimbursed in the whole amount.
For stays up to 364 days (Care Austria 364), the health insurance for educational purposes (e.g., students, language school participants, au pairs between 12 and 35 years old) costs only 51 EUR/month. For all other travel purposes, Care Austria 364 starts at 95 EUR/month.
Package Care Austria unlimited is intended for a stay that lasts one or more years and costs 56 EUR per month if you are for educational purposes in Austria. This premium is guaranteed for six years. For all other reasons, Care Austria Standard starts at 155 EUR/month.
You can take out and receive your health insurance online.
Care Expatriate international health insurance coverage provided by Care Concept. It’s tailored to the needs of expats not only in Austria but across Europe. This insurance plan is valid for at least 3 months up to a maximum of 5 years.
Coverage Care Expatriate
The insurance covers outpatient, inpatient, and dental treatments, as well as preventive check-ups, remedies, and medical aids with all licensed physicians worldwide at the standard local fee rates. You can choose between Care Expatriate Comfort and Care Expatriate Premium.
Moreover, this insurance fulfills all official requirements of foreign insurance in Austria. Hence, you can use it for visa and residence permit applications.
This insurance plan reimburses in accordance with the regulations of the Austrian regional health insurance providers and fulfills all official requirements of foreign insurance in Austria.
The monthly premium for Care Expatriate international insurance depends on your age. For a 28-year-old, the health insurance costs 58 EUR per month. You will find all rates in the table.
Sign for expat insurance here online and receive your coverage within minutes.
Health insurance for your Austrian visa and residence permit
When you apply for the visa to enter Austria, and residence permit, later on, you need to provide health insurance, among other documents. For the visa application, your insurance must have a coverage of up to 30,000 EUR for the 6 months. Fortunately, almost all travel insurances meet these criteria, including Cigna and Care Concept.
I used Care Concept (Care Austria) for my Austrian visa and residence permit.
Signing for Care Concept
You can take out a Care Austria policy directly online and receive your insurance by e-mail within two working days after successful application.
In the case of pre-existing conditions, this check may take a few days or lead to queries. You will receive official confirmation from the insurance company, which can be used for visa or residence permit application.
Health insurance cost in Austria
The average cost of public health insurance is 454 EUR per month (2021). People with financial problems could reduce this amount in some cases.
Whereas the average cost of private health insurance in Austria is approximately 220 EUR per month. However, prices vary considerably depending on factors such as age and the benefits included in the health insurance plan.
Cost of private insurance
Private insurance companies offer a range of plans to suit all people and situations. Their rates depend on the age and health of the applicant. Generally, older people pay more, while the young can benefit from cheap insurance prices. Additional factors include both gender and pre-existing conditions.
For healthy young people, costs between 45 EUR and 85 EUR are realistic.
Cost of public insurance
If you have public health insurance, your monthly contribution is fixed. Employees pay a particular amount of their income every month (7,65%). The maximum salary for calculation is set at 4,860 EUR. Rates for students is fixed at around 60 EUR per month. The contribution rate for pensioners or retirees is 5,1%.
Employees could additionally take their spouse into their coverage for an additional contribution of 3,4%.
How much does health insurance cost if you are unemployed or don’t have an income?
For someone without income, public insurance costs 166 EUR per month. Plus, you pay an additional 33,45 EUR monthly for long-term care. Private coverage will be cheaper in that case, from Care Concept in particular.
Self-employed and freelancers pay their health insurance in full amount – 7,65% of their income.
What health insurance covers in Austria?
Austria’s public and private healthcare system is comprehensive, covering almost all your healthcare needs, with minor exceptions.
For example, public health insurance will cover all medical costs related to check-ups and treatments. If you go to a private doctor with statutory coverage, you may have to pay up-front. You can get up to 80% of the cost reimbursed later.
All hospital visits are covered under public health insurance.
Public health insurance covers any emergency treatments you need.
Prescriptions and medication
Public health insurance covers most prescription medication in Austria, however, there is a small fee you have to pay. Currently, the fee is 6,30 EUR.
Maternity care, including pre-birth check-ups, birth, and postpartum care, is all covered by public health insurance in Austria.
Public insurance covers all necessary dental treatments, but you might need to pay yourself for some procedures. You might want to take out separate dental insurance. For example, patients have to pay for particular filling material, while some are free.
Austrian public insurance also includes eye care, yet, it has its limitations. Insurance companies cover only necessary treatments. Hence, you may end up paying yourself for some services. Expenses for glasses are covered except the deductible of around 100 EUR.
Furthermore, coverage of public insurance includes:
- Insured persons are covered in following areas: precautionary, maternity, therapeutic aids, and illness.
- Precautionary includes vaccinations, remedies and treatment, health checks, health at work, and recovery.
- Maternity covers childbirth, parental leave benefits, child allowance, and maternity allowance.
- Illness includes work-related illness, doctor visits, mental illness treatments, and support with serious health problems.
- Therapeutic aids are for the incapacity for work, accidents at work, treatment after accidents at work, and occupational diseases.
Coverage of private health insurance in Austria is comparative to the public.
Moreover, self-employed and freelancers receive more comprehensive benefits for outpatient treatment but must accept a deductible of 20%.
In the event of an inpatient stay in the hospital, the accommodation costs in a multi-bedroom are covered in full. However, the hospital charges a flat rate for meals. It’s around 10 EUR per day for a maximum of 28 days.
Find your health insurance for Austria
To find optimal health insurance in Austria, you can visit several comparison platforms, where the site Durchblicker is the largest one. Durchblicker is a convenient tool for selecting health insurance or other services you need in Austria, such as bank account, mobile plan, or car insurance.
It has no additional or hidden costs. Signing for the insurance policy is possible right on their website. Read over 1,400 positive reviews on Trustpilot, where Durchblicker receives a 4,8 rate.