Although we hope you’ll remain healthy during your time in Vienna, things can always go wrong. Even if it is just a minor incident, you need to be medically insured. In addition, sufficient health insurance is required for receiving your visa.
In theory, you can choose between getting private/travel insurance that qualifies to cover costs abroad while still in your home country or you can get insurance when you’re in Austria. However, a local insurance is usually the cheapest and it drastically decreases the amount of paperwork needed to get your money back after seeing a doctor, so we would recommend you to switch to an Austrian insurance if you’re planning on staying for a while. Pick a short-time solution to cover you during the transition period and get yourself an Austrian insurance after your arrival!
Within Austria, there are two main types of insurance: either you go for the public insurance (WGKK, short for Wiener Gebietskrankenkasse) or you go for private insurance.
Not sure about what you should do? Check our flowchart to get a better idea of your options. Don’t forget to click the tabsto get the full explanation of the possible short-term solutions and the difference between public and private health insurance.
Make use of a short-term solution to spend your first months free of worries
In the long run, getting a local Austrian insurance will definitely be your best option, but you have to make sure that you get into the country at first! If you need a visa for your stay, a sufficient health insurance will be one of the requirements you need to meet. Getting this Austrian health insurance will also be easier if you’re in the country already, since you’ll also need an Austrian bank account for the long-term insurance. Therefore, we advise you to make use of a short-term solution before you switch to the Austrian insurance provider of your choice.
Only switch to a long-term insurance if you are staying for longer than 6 months. If you are staying less than 6 months, the following short-term solutions will be your endpoint and you don’t have to go through the next steps described in the other tabs above.
Are you one of the lucky ones?
If you are a EU-citizen, you are automatically publicly insured through your regular home country insurance, if you bring your EHIC-card (European Health Insurance Card). Do not forget to request one from your local health insurance carrier before traveling to Austria. If you’re from an EEA country or Switzerland, you’re considered European. Also if you’re coming from Bosnia, Croatia, Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia or Turkey your regular insurance will cover the same things as the Austrian public insurance, but only if you bring along a filled out A3-form, provided by your local health insurance carrier.If you want full coverage in your transition period as well, just to feel safe, you can always go private! Check the differences in coverage in our downloads section and/or make an appointment with our insurance specialist below. You can contact him from abroad as well: you can find his contact info here (under “info”).
So, if you are from one of these countries and the public coverage is enough for you, you actually don’t HAVE to get an additional insurance. You could be insured like this forever. However, your insurance cannot be classified as “mainstream” and you’ll always have to take extra effort to get the same service as when you’re locally insured. Therefore, we strongly recommend you to switch to a locally recognized insurance when you’re completely settled.
But if you’re coming from another country, you don’t have to worry!
If you’re not from the EU (or any of the exceptional countries mentioned above), you’ll need to make sure that your insurance is accepted by the Austrian Embassy in order to get your VISA. It is possible that your regular insurance is accepted by the Austrian Embassy, especially when you also have a good travel insurance already. If not, you are just a few clicks away. A travel insurance is often your cheapest option, since it’s a pay-per-day kind of product. You can take one out right here and you’ll be set in 5 minutes!
Another option is take out a full private health insurance. In contrast to the public insurance, private insurance companies do offer short-term solutions. You can for example take out two month-insurance from our partner UNIQA to make sure that you’re completely covered.
If your insurance is not sufficient or if you don’t have one yet, we recommend you to take out short-term insurance from abroad for the first two months you’re here and once you’re settled, you can set up your long-term insurance in Austria.
Vienna’s public health insurance
Austria has one of the best healthcare systems in Europe, so even if you don’t want to spend the extra costs coming with private insurances, you can rest assured. When you’re publicly insured, you get free access to all basic health care, such as treatments in public hospitals, medication and dental care. You’ll have to apply for the public health insurance as described in the next paragraph.
To get the public insurance, you’ll have to register with a Gebietskrankenkasse in your district within your first week of work, if you’re an employee. The costs for health insurance, in addition to accident insurance and pension insurance will be calculated on the base of your salary and will be automatically withheld from your salary. Your employer must match your monthly payments to the Gebietskrankenkasse. If you’re currently unemployed, you’ll have to register at your district’s Gebietskrankenkasse as well, but you’ll be the one responsible for the payments. Private contractors should apply for their insurance through the Sozialversicherung der gewerblichen Witschaft (Social Insurance for the Industrial Economy).
How does it work?
After registration you will receive a green e-card (via mail), containing personal and medical information. You have to carry this card with you at all times! Each family member who will make use of the insurance needs his/her personal e-card. By processing health claims electronically (via this e-card), Austria significantly reduces waiting times and backlogs.You will be pleased to hear that children (-18) and/or university students (-26) are automatically covered by their workingparent’s insurance. Certain other uninsured members of your household can be covered by your insurance as well. Please ask your insurance provider for more information. However, you should be aware that this is only possible if you are insured through your employer and not when you have to self-insure.Despite the many benefits that public insurance already offers, there are still some uncovered costs, such as over the counter medications, medical repatriation… If you want to get coverage for these costs as well, you can upgrade to private insurance. Read through our tab to get an overview of all the extra advantages of private insurance.
Private health insurance
In general, private insurance complements the public health insurance. The privately insured will get shorter waiting times and have access to more services, such as private doctors and hospitals. Consequently, it will be much easier to choose your favorite English speaking doctor. Usually you will also get a better service, for example, you will receive a single/double room, whereas publicly insured patients will end up in a shared room with 2-5 others.
- FeelsLikeHome recommends taking out an insurance with Uniqa, because we have worked successfully with them for a long time. We have bargained with them and we honestly believe that this deal is as good as it gets. If your employer already provides you with the public insurance, you don’t want to spend a lot of money on getting the same service with only some small extras from a private insurance company. Therefore, we made it possible for you to upgrade yourpublic health insurance! That way you will only have to pay a small sum for the extras you would actually benefit from.If the benefits convinced you to go private, you can take out an insurance directly ONLINE right here.
- The additional coverage of your private insurance will depend on your own wishes. Sometimes it will cover hospital costs, sometimes you will get daily benefits. You’ll have to decide which of Uniqa’s plans matches your preferences best. In the “Downloads” area you will find a detailed comparison of the public insurance and the different insurance options at Uniqa.
Social insurance allows family members of the insured individual to be granted the same services at no additional cost. It is however, important to specify who is considered an insurable family member as well as which possible requirements need to be met.
- Children (incl. adopted, foster, etc.)
- Stepchildren and grandchildren (related to the third degree) permanently living with the insured
- *Children: up to the age of 18, all children can be co-insured; up to the age of 21, children can be co-insured if they are unemployed; up to the age of 26,
- Children can be co-insured if they are still students
- Housekeeping family member (without remuneration and living together for min. 10 months)
- Housekeeping life companion (without remuneration and living together for min. 10 months)
Criteria for acceptance of family co-insurance requests:
- The family member requesting co-insurance must have their main residence in Austria (exceptions: (grand)children studying abroad)
- The family member cannot already be insured by one of the Austrian laws (e.g. mandatory insurance for employed individuals)
Types of family co-insurances:
- Non-contributory – children are insured at no extra cost. Other types of family members may need to fulfill certain requirements in order to fall into this category. To see the full list click here.
- Contributory – those who do not meet the listed requirements have an obligation to pay the additional costs through the entire duration of the co-insurance.
The insured has a responsibility to notify the authorized health insurance institution of any changes in the family structure (e.g. divorce) or if a family member becomes insured in a different way.