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Austria – Health Insurance

Austria is a beautiful country located in the heart of Europe. Known for its stunning landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and high quality of life, it is a popular destination for expats. It is important to understand the healthcare system in the country, including health insurance. This article will provide information on whether health insurance is mandatory in Austria, how the state health insurance system works, and what it covers. It will also provide a step-by-step guide on how to apply to join the state health insurance system in Austria. Finally, it will highlight the advantages of international private medical insurance for expats living in Austria.

Health Insurance Requirements in Austria

Health insurance is mandatory for all residents of Austria. The government requires all residents to have health insurance, either through the state health insurance system or private medical insurance. Failure to have health insurance could lead to a fine or refusal of entry into the country.

State Health Insurance System in Austria

The state health insurance system in Austria is called the Allgemeine Unfallversicherungsanstalt (AUVA). It is a universal healthcare system that provides coverage to all citizens and permanent residents of Austria. AUVA is funded through taxes and is free of charge for most medical services.

AUVA covers a range of medical services, including primary care, specialist care, hospitalization, and emergency care. It also covers prescription medication, diagnostic tests, and medical equipment such as crutches and wheelchairs. Dental care is not covered by AUVA, except for certain medical procedures that require dental services.

It is important to note that AUVA does not cover everything. Some services, such as cosmetic surgery and some experimental treatments, are not covered by the system. In these cases, patients would need to pay for these services out of pocket or through private medical insurance.

Applying for State Health Insurance System in Austria

If you are a citizen or permanent resident of Austria, you are eligible for AUVA. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to apply:


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  1. Obtain an e-card: To apply for AUVA, you need to obtain an e-card. You can do this by visiting a social insurance center or applying online.

  2. Register with AUVA: Once you have your e-card, you will need to register with AUVA. You can do this by visiting a social insurance center or by calling the AUVA hotline.

  3. Choose a doctor: After registering with AUVA, you will need to choose a primary care physician. You can choose any doctor who participates in the AUVA system.

  4. Receive your e-card: Once you have completed the registration process and chosen a doctor, you will receive your e-card. This card will be used to access healthcare services in Austria.

Advantages of Private Medical Insurance in Austria

While AUVA provides comprehensive coverage for most medical services, some expats may choose to have international private medical insurance for additional coverage and benefits. Here are some advantages of having private medical insurance:

  1. Greater flexibility: Private medical insurance provides greater flexibility in terms of choosing healthcare providers and treatment options.

  2. Additional services: Private medical insurance often covers additional services that may not be covered by AUVA, such as alternative therapies and mental health services.

  3. Coverage outside of Austria: Private medical insurance also provides coverage outside of Austria, which can be useful for expats who travel frequently or have family members living in other countries.

  4. Shorter waiting times: Private medical insurance may also offer shorter waiting times for certain procedures or appointments.

  5. English-speaking doctors: For expats who may not speak the local language, private medical insurance can provide access to English-speaking doctors and healthcare providers.

It is important to note that private medical insurance can be costly, and the level of coverage and benefits can vary widely depending on the plan. It is crucial to research and compare plans thoroughly before choosing one.

In conclusion, health insurance is mandatory for all residents of Austria. The state health insurance system, AUVA, provides comprehensive coverage for most medical services. Expats living in Austria may also choose to have international private medical insurance for additional coverage and benefits. Understanding the healthcare system in Austria and having the appropriate health insurance coverage is essential for a comfortable and secure life in this beautiful country.


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