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Expat Exchange - Health Insurance for Expats in Austria
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Graz, Austria


Health Insurance for Expats in Austria

By Joshua Wood, LPC

William Russell
William Russell

Summary: As you plan your move to Austria, a key decision awaits: selecting the right health insurance. Should you go with local or expat coverage? This article explores the options and includes experiences shared by expats in Austria, offering a glimpse into what might work best for you.

Austria boasts a high-quality healthcare system that is accessible to both residents and expats. The system is funded by mandatory health insurance, which is part of the country's social security system, ensuring comprehensive coverage for a wide range of medical services.

Health Insurance Companies in Austria

In Austria, the public health insurance system is run by several insurance providers known as "Gebietskrankenkassen," which are regional health insurance funds. The most popular among these are the Vienna Regional Health Insurance Fund (Wiener Gebietskrankenkasse) and the Upper Austria Health Insurance Fund (Oberösterreichische Gebietskrankenkasse). Expats are generally eligible to purchase health insurance from these companies, provided they meet certain residency and employment criteria. Private health insurance is also available and is often used to supplement the public insurance, providing additional benefits and shorter waiting times for certain procedures.

Expat Health Insurance in Austria

Expats living in Austria often buy specialized expat health insurance to ensure they have coverage that is tailored to their specific needs. This can be particularly important for those who may not immediately qualify for the public health insurance system or who prefer to have coverage that is more aligned with international standards. Specialized expat health insurance can offer more flexibility, such as coverage for repatriation or medical treatment in other countries, which can be a significant consideration for those who travel frequently.

Local Health Insurance vs. Expat Health Insurance

While some expats and digital nomads opt for local health insurance companies, others choose specialized expat health insurance providers. The decision often depends on factors such as the length of their stay, their employment status, and their eligibility for local insurance. Local health insurance is typically more integrated with the Austrian healthcare system and may be more cost-effective for long-term residents. In contrast, expat health insurance can offer more comprehensive international coverage, which may be preferable for those who are not planning to settle permanently or who require more extensive health services.

Considerations for Health Insurance Abroad

When deciding on health insurance while living overseas, it's important to consider the specifics of the coverage. Some insurers operate on a direct billing system, where they pay the hospital or clinic directly for your medical expenses. Others may require you to pay upfront and then submit claims for reimbursement, which can involve a waiting period before you get your money back. Additionally, consider the extent of the coverage, including whether it includes repatriation, dental care, or pre-existing conditions, and the ease of accessing services in your host country. These factors can significantly impact your experience with healthcare abroad and should be carefully evaluated before choosing an insurance plan.

About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.


William Russell
William Russell

William Russell
William Russell

Graz, Austria

Allianz Care
Allianz Care

Flexible solutions allow you to tailor your cover to meet your needs and budget. Use Promocode: LIFE10 and get 10% off your international health insurance for life!
Get Quote

Allianz CareAllianz Care

Flexible solutions allow you to tailor your cover to meet your needs and budget. Use Promocode: LIFE10 and get 10% off your international health insurance for life!
Get Quote

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William Russell
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