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Country-by-country guide

Accessing healthcare in Austria

Each country's health system is different and might not include all the things you would expect to get free of charge on the NHS. This means you may have to make a patient contribution to the cost of your care.

Your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) will enable you to access state-provided healthcare at a reduced cost, or sometimes for free. It will cover you for treatment that is needed to allow you to continue your stay until your planned return.

Your EHIC also covers you for treatment of pre-existing medical conditions and routine maternity care, provided the reason for your visit isn't specifically to give birth.

If you don't have your EHIC with you or you've lost it, you can call the Department of Health Overseas Healthcare Team (+44 191 218 1999) to get a Provisional Replacement Certificate.

Get the EHIC smartphone app

The European Commission has developed a useful multi-language free phone app, which explains how to use the EHIC card in different countries within the EU. It summarises the treatments, costs, procedure for reimbursement, and emergency numbers.

Non-EEA nationals are covered in Austria.

Find help in an emergency

If you find yourself in an emergency during your stay in Austria, dial 144 or 112.

Other important numbers to note down:

112 – euro emergency
144 – rescue (rettung)
133 – police (polizei)
122 – fire department (feuerwehr)

Deaf Emergency: by fax or SMS to 0800 133 133 (Gehörlosen-Notruf)

    TipThe official language of Austria is German. Emergency calls are answered in German first, but in large tourist areas you'll also find English speaking operators. If possible, have a local person assist you with your call. In addition, take note of this useful glossary of German medical words.

    Health services and costs

    Your EHIC does not cover private treatment, so make sure you are treated by a provider who has a contract with one of Austria's regional health insurance offices (Gebietskrankenkasse) as their services are free. Doctors usually display a sign saying "Kassenarzt" (contracted doctor) or "Alle Kassen", which means they operate under the state system. 

    You should be particularly careful if healthcare arrangements are made by a hotel or travel representative. Any costs incurred for private healthcare are non-refundable.

    Tip

    Remember to keep all receipts and any paperwork (make copies if necessary) as they might be needed by you or your insurance company to apply for any refund or reimbursement.

    If you move to Austria long-term or plan to work in the country, you'll need to be registered with one of the public health insurance providers. Nearly all employees in Austria pay into the social security system and are therefore covered by health insurance, which is mandatory. 

    It is usually the employer who is responsible for registering employees with a health insurance organisation. The provider you are registered with depends on the status of your employer and its location. For more information, see this list of Austrian health insurance organisations.

    Once you are paying into the Austrian social security system and you have been registered with the relevant health insurance provider, you will receive your social insurance card, the e-card. You should always bring this card with you when visiting a doctor. For information, visit the Austrian Social Security website.

    Dentists

    Dentists are called Zahnärzte in Austria. If you need dental treatment during your stay because of illness or an accident, you'll have to present a valid EHIC or your e-card to receive treatment at the same cost as a resident. Only a limited range of dental treatment is available under the Austrian state healthcare system. Make sure you see a dentist that is contracted to one of the public health insurance funds.

    For more details, visit the dental health section on the Austrian Social Security website

    Hospital treatment

    Hospitals are called Krankenhäuser in Austria. Just like in the UK, you'll need a doctor's referral for non-emergency hospital treatment.

    When you're admitted to hospital, you'll need to present either a valid EHIC or e-card to receive treatment at the same cost as a resident.

    Standard treatment is free of charge if the hospital has a contract with the "Landesgesundheitsfonds" (such as university hospitals or regional hospitals). There is a daily charge (currently €11.60-19.40) for the first 28 days in hospital.

    You will be charged if you are treated by a private hospital.

    Prescriptions

    Pharmacies are called Apotheken in Austria. You can get prescribed medicines from any pharmacy, which will be charged at a standard prescription rate (currently €5.40).

    You can search for local pharmacies, including pharmacies open at night or on bank holidays, on the Österreichische Apothekenkammer website (in German only).

    Find local health services

    You can search for local doctors, pharmacists, dentists, hospitals and other healthcare providers on the Austrian government health website (German only). The information provided includes whether or not the service is covered by public health insurance.

    Making healthcare arrangements in advance

    The most common treatments or conditions that require advanced arrangements are listed below. For all other conditions or treatments, you should consult your GP. Remember, you must present your EHIC for all treatments abroad.

    Oxygen therapy

    Ensure your EHIC is valid before you travel. In most cases you will have to use the authorised oxygen company for the country you are travelling to (in this case, Austria). You'll also have to make your own arrangements, including arranging for permission from your hotel to deliver and install the equipment. There may also be additional costs that the EHIC will not cover.

    Your home oxygen supplier is not required to provide a service outside the UK. However, most suppliers will be able to advise you about what to do. Your oxygen treatment clinic will organise your home oxygen supply from one of these suppliers:

    Air Liquide: Call them on:

    • 0808 143 9991 for London
    • 0808 143 9992 for North West
    • 0808 143 9993 for East Midlands
    • 0808 143 9999 for South West

    Baywater Healthcare: covers Yorkshire and Humberside, West Midlands and Wales. Call them on 0800 373 580. For more information visit the Baywater Healthcare website.

    BOC: covers the East and North East of England. Call them on 0800 136 603.

    Dolby Vivisol: covers the South of England. Call them on 0500 823 773.

    The British Lung Foundation (BLF) may have additional oxygen contacts for the country you are travelling to. Their website offers general advice about how to make travel arrangements, including advice on:

    Ensure you allow plenty of time to make all your arrangements before you travel.

    You can also contact the Main Association of Austrian Social Security Institutions for information before leaving the UK:

    Hauptverband der österreichischen Sozialversicherungsträger
    Postfach 600
    1031 Wien
    Austria

    Telephone: +43 1 711 320

    Information is also available online from their website: the Multilingual information section offers an English version.

    There is a standard prescription fee and a set fee for a health insurance certificate from an insurance company and a small hire charge for oxygen cylinders. GPs or medical centres will issue a prescription.

    Find more information on oxygen supply in Austria (German only).

    Dialysis

    You need to speak to the co-ordinator in your UK dialysis unit, who will contact the dialysis unit in Austria nearest to where you will be staying. However, the provision of dialysis will be subject to availability in Austria. 

    Find information about dialysis in Austria and dialysis facilities worldwide.

    Tip

    Make your arrangements according to your UK dialysis schedule. There may be different guidance depending on what type of dialysis you receive. Make sure you speak to your doctor before you travel. You can also visit the National Kidney Federation website, which offers general advice about travelling with a kidney disease, as well as specific guidance for haemodialysis patients, peritoneal dialysis patients, and guidelines for transplant patients. Read more advice about travelling with other conditions:

    Living and/or working in Austria

    If you are staying in Austria for a longer period, you are considered resident in Austria and will have to pay contributions for medical care to a local social insurance organisation (Sozialversicherungsträger). The health service providers are usually called "Gebietskrankenkasse" (regional health insurance institutions).  

    You and your insured family members will then receive the Austrian health card, referred to as the e-card, which will give you access to free healthcare while you are living in Austria. You don't have to apply for the e-card as your health insurance institution automatically sends it to you.

    You should bring your e-card with you every time you visit a doctor. Having your e-card means you won't need to register with a GP.

    Working in Austria

    If you are working in regular employment, your employer will normally deduct contributions to the health insurance system from your salary and make the payments on your behalf. For further information, visit the Main Association of Austrian Social Security Institutions website (information available in English).

    If you are a worker seconded to Austria or the family member of someone making UK National Insurance contributions, your employer should contact HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) for the following forms:

    • A1 (previously E101) – this will show that tax and NI contributions are paid in the UK
    • S1 (previously E106 or E109) – this will give you and your family the same medical cover as Austrian residents, including your e-cards 

    HMRC
    Charity, Assets and Residence
    Room BP1301
    Benton Park View
    Newcastle upon Tyne
    NE98 1ZZ

    For more information, visit the Moving abroad section.

    Studying in Austria

    If you are going to study or are currently studying in Austria as part of a UK-recognised course, you may be entitled to healthcare paid for by the UK government. You and any dependants you may have will need a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).

    Also read:

    Pensioners

    If you receive a UK State Pension or long-term Incapacity Benefit, you may be entitled to state healthcare paid for by the UK. You'll need to apply for a certificate of entitlement, also known as an S1 form, which you should then present to the health authorities in Austria.

    You can apply for your form via the International Pension Centre on 0191 218 7777. Once issued, register the S1 form with your regional health insurance office (Gebietskrankenkasse) in Austria. You may be asked for proof of identity. Often you'll need to do this before you can obtain your medical e-card.

    Once you have registered your S1 in Austria, you will be entitled to apply for and use a UK-issued EHIC to access state-funded necessary medical treatment when you visit other EEA countries.

    Early retirees

    From July 1 2014 you are no longer able to apply for residual S1 form.
    If you already have a residual S1 this will not affect you – it will continue to be valid until its original expiry date. Find out more about the new rules.

    TipThe Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) provides useful information about what UK and Austrian benefits are available to Britons living in Austria, and information on driving regulations in Austria.  

    Page last reviewed: 10/04/2014

    Next review due: 10/04/2016

    EHIC changes

    You will no longer be able to claim a refund in the UK for most patient co-payments for treatment received after July 1 2014

    EHIC: packing for your holiday

    Be prepared for your holiday, and make sure you have a valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). It costs nothing to apply for or renew an EHIC. For more information call the Overseas Healthcare Team on 0191 218 1999.

    Media last reviewed: 22/08/2013

    Next review due: 22/08/2015

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