Health & Emergency
Security and Health are major agendas for the Austrian population, therefore Austria prides itself with a well-established and generous social and health care system. From the urban areas to the remotest mountains, a decent level of care is provided throughout a vast network of doctors and hospitals.
Health care is obligatory in Austria and everyone living and working in Austria has to deliver health insurance contribution, but is rewarded with health insurance, which is part of the national social security insurance system. The healthcare provided is universal for Austrians, as well as other EU countries, Students from an EU/EEA country and Switzerland, who are in possession of a valid national health insurance in their country of origin and a European Health Insurance Card.
Though a basic level of insurance applies to everyone, the type of insurance an applicant receives is depending on employment, fees and payment scales and may vary significantly. Austria has established a two-tier health care system:
Publicly funded care: When there are no special arrangements in the work contract, employees are usually submitted to their regional medical insurance company (for Vienna that is usually the Wiener Gebietskrankenkasse “WKK”), specific lines of work have their own insurance company with special benefits.
Private health insurance: There is the possibility to purchase additional insurance services or even to switch to completely private insurance plans, which provide additional services, but are more costly. E.g. doctors may offer flexible visiting hours for private patients. There are some special clinics and medical practices, which are not included in the public health care system.
Austria has introduced an electrical health administration system in 1996 and to facilitate the medicinal process has introduced the “e-card”. The e-card is a smart card, which replaces the paper health insurance voucher, but furthermore it also includes an electronic signature and information of the patient. It is highly recommended to carry the e-card with you at all times, in case of emergency.
Vienna’s health infrastructure
Vienna has a well-established health infrastructure, which easily covers all areas. In case of an emergency call (“144”), the closest available paramedics will pick a patient up and will be sent to the next eligible hospital. In many cases this will be Vienna’s biggest hospital the AKH (“Allgemeines Krankenhaus” – General Hospital), but Vienna has a total of 14 hospitals, with different specializations.