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Public Healthcare in Austria

The Public Insurance system in Austria is divided into three branches: healthcare (also called public health insurance), public accident insurance, and public pension insurance. The Austrian Public Insurance System is compulsory for everybody working and living in Austria.

Expats working in Austria are required to pay into the Puclic Insurance scheme. The contribution amounts to a percentage of income: 7.65% for health insurance, 1.3% for accident insurance, and 22.8% towards the public pension. Contributions are only taken from the first € 4,650 per month and are automatically deducted from an individual’s salary by their employer. Risk factors (age, health status, sex) are not taken into account. Spouses and children who do not work are usually insured without supplementary contributions.

The Public Health Insurance System / Social Insurance System in Austria consists of three branches (click for more):

> Healthcare in Austria / Public Health Insurance in Austria:

Austria, a country said to have one of the best healthcare systems in Europe, has a two tier system. The public insurance system can only offer a certain level of basis care and private insurance is highly recommended.

Public health insurance provides free access to basic healthcare to all citizens and residents of Austria. Basic healthcare in Austria includes treatment in public hospitals, medication, and basic dental care. For European expatriates there are also reciprocal healthcare agreements in place with other EU member states. Those holding a European Health Insurance Card can use it in Austria. If you do not already have a green e-card, it will be issued to each member of your family that will be using the healthcare system.

Patients can only consult medical professionals approved by the social insurance fund; doctors who accept e-card holders will display a sign stating ‘Alle Kassen‘ or ‘Kassenarzt‘. However, there is a huge difference in the quality of facilities that e-card holders can expect when compared to those using private health insurance. For example, publicly insured patients can expect to share a hospital room with six to eight other patients.

Private health insurance in Austria is generally used to complement the public health services. Private insurance covers the extra hospital costs or daily benefits, depending on the specific insurance plan chosen. Private insurance allows members access to private doctors and medical professionals as well as smaller, more private rooms in state and private hospitals. Private insurance patients are generally given a single or double room.

Due to the many advantages of private health insurance most Austrians and expatriates in Austria choose to sign up for private health insurance.

> Public Accident Insurance:

Public accident insurance covers costs that are connected to accidents at work and occupational ailments. It will then pay for medical treatment, doctors, hospital care, and therapy after accidents. Public accident insurance will also provide financial compensation if an accident at work or occupational disease results in a reduction of the ability to work.

Note: 75% of all accidents happen during spare time. Public accident insurance does not cover accidents during spare time! Private accident insurance is highly recommended.

> Public Pension Insurance:

Increasing life expectancy and low fertility rates have put the Austrian pension system under high budgetary pressure. While the legal retirement age is 65 years for both men and women, early retirement is very common. Austria is among the countries with the lowest retirement age: employees currently start to withdraw direct pensions at the average age of 57.7 years.

Nowadays more than one third of pension payouts need to be covered by contributions from the state. The pension benefits have been decreased drastically by recent reforms to alleviate budgetary pressures: private pension plans are highly recommended. Furthermore, public pensions for expats will be significantly lower since the contributions to the system will be lower compared to those having lived in Austria for their whole lives.

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