The health system in Austria

Updated 2021-01-11 06:57

Choosing to move to Austria is a very good decision if it's for having a stable and high-class developed health care system. With excellent public medical services, you will get a decent treatment even if you are currently unemployed.

Overview of the Austrian health system

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.

Public medical care

Even as an expatriate, you pay into the healthcare system, which means you are also eligible to receive benefits. These benefits even extend to the children and dependents of workers, with children to receive coverage until the age of 28. If you are new to the country, you have to enrol in 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. This card serves as a digital medical record, so any treatment can be monitored and traceable.

If you are trying to find a doctor or medical clinic who sees 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 your own pocket.

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 in Austria

Some also choose to 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.

There are many insurance companies to choose from in Austria, according to your needs and budget. Some of the leading health insurance providers are:

Consider having a look at their offers according to your needs and get a free quote on's Health Insurance for expatriates in Austria page.

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

Pharmacies in Austria are called 'Apotheke'. They are easily found in most cities and towns and will sell prescription and over the counter medicine as well as 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.

Even on weekends and during the night there will be at least one pharmacy in your district that is open 24 hours. Find more information on Apo24

Medical services in Austria

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.


You can reach emergency services 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 
Poison Control 

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.