National health insurance
Austria has a good public national insurance system with local public providers (Gebietskrankenkassen) in all nine federal states. Under certain conditions foreign national insurance carriers cover the costs for medical treatment of acute illness in Austria. Therefore we recommend you to contact your health insurance provider in your home country and enquire about this and if available, procure the necessary forms from them.
If you are a student or a visiting researcher from an EU/EEA country or Switzerland and are in possession of valid national health insurance in your home country, you need the European Health Insurance Card. This card is issued by your health insurance provider. Workers sent to Austria also need the E 102 form from their health insurance body in their home country.
In case you have valid national health insurance in a country that has concluded a health insurance agreement with Austria (at the moment these are the following countries: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey), you have to bring along the A3 form, which is available from your national health insurance provider. You have to exchange this form for forms that entitle you to medical treatment in Austria (Krankenscheine, "Krankenkassenschecks") at the relevant Austrian health insurance provider (Gebietskrankenkasse).
Degree programme students (ordentliche Studierende) at all universities and universities of applied sciences (Fachhochschulen) as well as non-degree programme students (außerordentliche Studierende) at University Preparation Programmes (Vorstudienlehrgänge) who do not fall into the above-mentioned categories may themselves take out a health insurance policy ("Studierendenselbstversicherung") with the relevant Gebietskrankenkasse. Certain conditions, such as income limits and other conditions (duration of studies, changes of fields of studies), however, apply for this insurance and should be taken into consideration. With the completed application form and the confirmation of admission to study (Zulassungsbestätigung) or the confirmation of continuation of your studies (Fortsetzungsbestätigung) (both of which will be issued by the Austrian university at which you have been admitted) students have to take out the insurance in person with the local public Austrian insurance provider (Gebietskrankenkasse) of their university city or town. By December 31st of each year you have to submit a valid confirmation of the continuation of their studies (Fortsetzungsbestätigung) to the Gebietskrankenkasse. This has to provide proof that you have been a degree programme student (ordentlicher Studierender) at an Austrian university for the entire academic year and are entitled to continue your studies at that university.
Self-insured students have to pay an insurance fee of EUR 54.11 per month.
If you do not fulfil these conditions, you can nevertheless take out a health insurance policy with the relevant Gebietskrankenkasse. In this case the monthly premium is 405.98 euros (as in 2015) but it may be reduced for social reasons (i.e. low income, etc.) upon application.
With this type of insurance, however, a waiting period of six months applies: this means that the insurance providers will only cover your medical treatment after you have paid premiums for at least six months. Exception: previous insurance periods within the European Union that are credited towards your health insurance.
In case of employment (unselbständige Erwerbstätigkeit) the employer has to register the employee for national insurance with the Gebietskrankenkasse. If the salary exceeds a certain minimum (405,98 euros per month; as in 2015), the employee will also be covered by health insurance.
In case of self-employment (selbständige Erwerbstätigkeit) (contract for work and labour - "Werkvertrag") the self-employed person has to register with national insurance him/herself if the amount they earn exceeds the limit below which insurance is not compulsory.
Once registration has been successfully completed, the competent Gebietskrankenkasse will automatically send a health insurance card (e-card) to you by mail. The e-card can be used with all doctors holding a contract with the Gebietskrankenkasse and in most hospitals. Medical treatments will then be paid directly by the Gebietskrankenkasse. Prescription medicines are available from pharmacies, the costs of these are 5.55 Euro (prescription fee [Rezeptgebühr], as in 2015) per medicine prescribed by your doctor.
Please note that an e-card is not necessarily equipped with an European Health Insurance Card (EKVK) that can also be used in the EU/EEA region. You will find further information here.
Spouses may be insured with the Gebietskrankenkasse against payment of an additional contribution; children may be insured with the Gebietskrankenkasse for free with their parent(s). Further information is available from the local insurance carriers (Gebietskrankenkassen).
Private health insurance
Finally, it is possible to take out private or travel insurance (see related links on the right for more information). The benefits of such insurances differ greatly from one to the other; therefore please enquire about the details. Please make sure to take out insurance that covers medical treatment in the whole of Austria and that it provides sufficient cover for various types of illness (it would be ideal if it also covers transport back to your home country). Travel insurance (for at least 6 months) has to be taken out before travelling to Austria.