Stays of up to 6 months
For stays of up to six months (with or without visa) a travel health insurance is usually sufficient. Please bear in mind, however, that it must be valid in Austria and provide sufficient cover for different health issues (covering medical costs of more than 30,000 euros, including guarantee to cover possible recovery and repatriation costs, and it must be valid for the whole duration of your stay in Austria). Travel insurance policies often have to be purchased before travelling to Austria.
Stays of more than 6 months
Researchers and students from third countries will only get a residence title for staying for more than six months if they can provide proof of having a health insurance covering "all risks". Travel health insurance policies are only sufficient for the period between entering Austria and taking out a health insurance covering "all risks". In this case applicants have to provide proof of having taken out a travel health insurance (covering medical costs of more than 30,000 euros, including guarantee to cover possible recovery and repatriation costs, valid for at least three months) and they have to document the probability that they will take out a health insurance covering "all risks" after entering Austria (e.g. by means of a preliminary contract).
The Austrian national health insurance (or a national health insurance of a country with which Austria has concluded a social insurance agreement) fulfils the requirement of a health insurance covering "all risks" (A4 form, more precisely submission of the confirmation of insurance, see below) . It is also possible to provide proof of having taken out a private health insurance policy (see below):
National health insurance
Austria has a good public national insurance system with regional public providers (Gebietskrankenkassen) in all nine federal provinces. 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 will be issued by your health insurance provider upon application. Workers sent to Austria additionally need the E 102 form from their health insurance providers in their home countries. In case you have a valid national health insurance in a country that has concluded a social insurance agreement with Austria you have to bring along the A3 form for short stays, the A4 form for stays with primary residence ("Hauptwohnsitz") in Austria. Both forms are available from the respective national health insurance provider and can be exchanged to a confirmation of insurance at the relevant Austrian health insurance provider (Gebietskrankenkasse) that entitles to medical treatment in Austria and can be presented at the residence authority. Social insurance agreements are currently in place with the following countries: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey.
If none of these two options is available, self-insurance with the national health insurance carrier may be taken out:
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) may take out student self-insurance ("Studierendenselbstversicherung") with the relevant Gebietskrankenkasse. The main requirements are residence in Austria and a confirmation of admission or continuation of your studies from the relevant higher education institution. Certain conditions (e.g. duration of studies, income limits and other conditions (study breaks and changes of fields of studies)), however, have to be taken into consideration. Here you can check whether or not you fulfil these requirements:
With the completed application form and the necessary documents according to the online guide (see above) the insurance needs to be taken out in person with the local public Austrian insurance provider (Gebietskrankenkasse) of the university city or town. By December 31st of each year a valid confirmation of the continuation of your studies (Fortsetzungsbestätigung) needs to be submitted to the Gebietskrankenkasse. This has to provide proof for the entire academic year that you are entitled to continue your studies as a degree programme student (ordentlicher Studierender) at the Austrian university (or as a non-degree programme student at a university preparation programme). Self-insured students have to pay an insurance fee of EUR 58.39 [as in 2018] per month.
Students or researchers who do not fulfil the conditions for student self-insurance can nevertheless take out self-insurance with the relevant Gebietskrankenkasse. In this case the monthly premium is EUR 418.69 [as in 2018] but it may be reduced for economic reasons upon application. With this type of insurance, however, a waiting period of six months applies: this means that the insurance providers will only cover medical treatment after having 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 ([Geringfügigkeitsgrenze] - EUR 438,05 per month; as in 2018], 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 EUR 6 [as in 2018] (prescription fee [Rezeptgebühr]) per medicine prescribed by your doctor. Please note that an e-card is not necessarily equipped with a European Health Insurance Card (EKVK) that can also be used in the EU/EEA region. You will find further information here:
Spouses and partners in a civil union may be insured with the Gebietskrankenkasse against payment of an additional contribution; children may be included in their parents´ insurance with the Gebietskrankenkasse free of charge. Further information is available from the local insurance carriers [Gebietskrankenkassen].
Private health insurance
Finally, it is also possible to take out private health insurance. The benefits of a private health insurance covering "all risks" must essentially correspond to that of the national health insurance and not considerably differ from it. It is essential that the insurance does not have any waiting periods, cost caps or exclude certain risks. Moreover, the insurance must pay for medical treatment in Austria directly.
To be recognized as a health insurance covering "all risks" the relevant insurance company must present a written statement in this regard in addition to the insurance policy. Some insurance companies also provide online Information about respective health insurances that are accepted by the residence authorities, e.g. www.feelsafe.at or www.care-concept.de.