Insider’s Guide to the Health System in Austria

Discover the realities of the healthcare system in Austria and how it may serve expats, digital nomads, retirees, and others who relocate or reside in the country.
Insider’s Guide to the Health System in Austria

Austria has a public healthcare system that is funded by taxes and provides universal coverage to all citizens and legal residents. The public healthcare system in Austria is called the Gesundheitsfonds and covers a wide range of medical services, including hospital stays, doctor visits, and prescription drugs. Foreigners (expats and digital nomads) are allowed to use the public healthcare system in Austria, however, they may be required to pay a fee for certain services. People generally recommend using public hospitals for serious medical emergencies and major surgery, as they are well-equipped and staffed with experienced medical professionals. Public hospitals in Austria are typically clean and modern, with a wide range of services available. Austria also has a private healthcare system, which is used primarily by expats and digital nomads. Private healthcare is more expensive than public healthcare, but it offers more personalized care and shorter wait times. Private hospitals in Austria are typically well-equipped and staffed with experienced medical professionals, and people generally recommend using them for serious medical emergencies and major surgery. Some of the most well-known hospitals in Austria include the Vienna General Hospital (public, located in Vienna), the Medical University of Vienna (public, located in Vienna), the Wilhelminenspital (public, located in Vienna), the AKH Linz (public, located in Linz), and the LKH Graz (public, located in Graz). The most popular private health insurers in Austria are BVAEB, Wiener Gebietskrankenkasse, and SVA. These companies offer a range of health insurance plans, including basic coverage and more comprehensive plans. Expats and digital nomads typically use these companies, although some may opt for specialized expat health insurance providers.

Insider Tips from Expats in Austria: How to Navigate the Health System

“I’ve lived in Austria for a few years now, and I can tell you that it’s definitely possible to live on $3,000 a month, but you’ll have to make some sacrifices and choose your location wisely. Living in major cities like Vienna or Salzburg can be quite expensive, especially when it comes to rent and dining out. You might have to settle for a smaller apartment or share a flat with roommates to make it work in those cities. On the other hand, there are more affordable options in smaller towns and cities like Graz or Linz. The cost of living is generally lower in these areas, and you can find decent apartments for a more reasonable price. You might also have to cut back on eating out and opt for cooking at home more often, as well as using public transportation instead of owning a car. In general, you’ll have to be more conscious of your spending and prioritize your expenses, but it’s definitely doable to live on $3,000 a month in Austria if you’re willing to make some adjustments,” said one expat living in Austria.

“In Austria, medical services are of a high standard. The country has a comprehensive public health system, which provides free or low-cost medical care to all citizens. Austria also has a well-developed private health care system, which offers a wide range of services. The country has a number of highly-regarded hospitals and clinics, staffed by experienced and qualified medical professionals. Austria also has a number of specialized medical centers, which provide specialized treatments and services,” commented one member living in Austria.

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.

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