The healthcare system in Austria


Public medical care

Austria has a very comprehensive and well-regarded public healthcare system, called statutory health insurance (SHI). Public healthcare is applicable to all Austrians, EU passport holders, and those from EEA countries, as long as they hold the European Health Insurance Card. Workers pay an amount of their salary to fund the healthcare system, which is proportional to their income. Contributing to the healthcare system is mandatory.

Expats pay into the healthcare system, so they are also able to receive benefits. Benefits also extend to the children and dependents of workers, with children eligible for coverage up until the age of 28. New expats will need to enrol into the healthcare system shortly after arrival by registering with the local health district. This is because the healthcare system is administered on a local level, rather than nationally. They will then receive an ‘e-card’, which must be shown when treatment or medicines are obtained through the public system.

To find a doctor or medical clinic who see patients on the public system, look for a sign that says ‘Kassenarzt’ or ‘Alle Kassen’. This is important as some doctors may only see private patients. If you see a private doctor as a public patient without private insurance, you will be obligated to pay the fees out of pocket.

 Good to know:

Pensioners, children and dependents, those who are self-employed, and those on unemployment are also to obtain coverage through the public system.

Private health insurance

Some chose to also purchase private health insurance to complement the public system, although this is not a necessity. Private coverage may allow for shorter waiting times for medical treatments and for access to private hospitals, which may be smaller or have more amenities. This can include, for example, having a private room instead of a shared room in a hospital facility.

 Good to know:

Students who are studying in Austria from outside the EU/EEA will need to provide their own health insurance to cover them while in the country.


Pharmacies in Austria are called ‘apotheke’. They are easily found in most cities and towns, and will sell prescription and over the counter medicine, and basic first-aid supplies. Prescription medicine is strictly regulated in Austria, so make sure you have all prescriptions as required when you relocate to the country. A small fee is required to be paid when prescriptions are filled, to help offset the cost.

Medical services

Medical services under public (and private) healthcare are comprehensive, covering medical and dental care and procedures, and visits to medical specialists. Hospitals offer a very high standard of care, and are located throughout the country.


Emergency services can be reached in Austria by dialling 112. Emergency responders will generally speak German, but may also speak English.

 Useful links:

Austrian government health services (German only)
General Hospital of the City of Vienna
Accident Hospital Salzburg

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.
Recommend Your favourite team
Member since 01 June 2008
Small earth, Mauritius
Write a comment

See also

Looking for work in Austria as an expat? How to search for work as a new arrival or how to open a business and information on paying tax as a business.
Information on Austrian visas for expats, including requirements for tourist visas, entry and residence permits, and documents needed to apply for visas.
Austrian travel information for expats. Air, train and bus travel offer many options for expats to explore Austria. You can also hire a car to get around.
Austrian expat tax information. What expats in Austria need to know about income tax, sales tax, corporate tax, and double taxation.
Learn more about studying abroad in Austria, including popular universities for expat students, university admission processes and Austrian student visas.