As a Student/Academic
The best solution for you will depend on your personal preferences, country of origin and on the length of your stay.
If you are from the EU or Switzerland then your EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) is the default. With your European Health Insurance Card, you are automatically entitled to reduced-cost or sometimes even free medical treatments. This card is supplied by your local health insurance carrier, so make sure that you request one before traveling to Austria. It will cover part of the costs of state provided emergency health care in Austria. However, not all medical fees are covered, and medical repatriation or on-going, non-urgent medical treatments are also not included in the coverage. Therefore, it is recommended that you obtain an extra travel and/or Private Insurance for proper coverage.
If you are from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia or Turkey, you have to bring along the A3 form for short stays, the A4 form for stays with primary residence (“Hauptwohnsitz”). Both forms can be obtained from the respective national health insurance provider and can be exchanged to a confirmation of insurance at the relevant Austrian health insurance provider (Gebietskrankenkasse) that entitles to medical treatment in Austria, after which you would be on the same boat as EU citizens.
Non EU less than 3 months
If you’re not from the EU, you’ll need to apply for a visa before you are able to come to Austria. In order to get your visa, you will need to prove that you are sufficiently medically insured. Officially, you’re not a student until you take out this insurance, so the general student insurance does not apply to you. Therefore, it is common to take out a short-term Austrian insurance, an international insurance in your home country or an additional travel insurance. Sometimes it can be cheaper to opt for a travel insurance to top off your normal health insurance.
Furthermore, it is also possible to take out an short-term private health insurance – it is not possible to self-insure via the public health insurance for such a short stay. Regarding the private health insurance, we strongly believe that our partner FeelSafe offers you the best deal on the market, in terms of price, coverage, service and ease of operation.
Non EU more than 3 months
If you are planning to stay in Austria for more than 3 months, you are obliged to take out an Austrian Health Insurance to get all of your papers, most importantly your visa and student permit, in order. Registering for insurance comes in two steps:
1. Get a short term health insurance (needed for your visa)
2. Take out the long term insurance as soon as you are in Austria
We recommend you to take a short-term insurance at first for 2 months (counting from your first day you arrive). That leaves you with enough time to set up your bank account (required for long-term insurance) and to get settled. As mentioned above, short term solutions include travel or private insurances.
As for the second part; although it is possible to be covered by an international insurance from your home country, we strongly recommend to go with an Austrian insurance. It just eases the entire process of getting medical treatment and saves you many worries you don’t want to be having while feeling bad already.
Basically you have two options: either you take out a public insurance (GKK) or you go for a private insurance. You can find a detailed comparison of the different insurance options by clicking here, but we will just explain it briefly for you as well:
- The public insurance is the minimum insurance you have to take out and it covers your basic needs. Be aware that you are limited to public doctors and hospitals for the price of the fee they charge you and only if you’re on track with your studies. If you are taking longer than necessary the fees will be increased. If you decide to take out public insurance you need to contact WGKK directly.
- UNIQA, the leading Austrian insurance company, through our partner FeelSafe has created private insurance bundles tailored specifically for international students and academics like you, offering the best products for the best price (even better than GKK) with the best coverage and the best ease of operation. In just a few clicks, from the comfort of your home, all online, all in English, no paperwork, no waiting! Private insurance covers visits to both private and public doctors or hospitals. Furthermore, waiting times will be much shorter and you will have an English-speaking contact person, specialized in working with international students. Thank us later! 😉