What do Mozart, Alpine Skiing, and Austrian Healthcare Have in Common?

They are all sources of immense national pride. Everyone in Austria has access to comprehensive medical care, and around 90% of the population rate the system as very good or quite good. But no policy could call itself Austrian if it did not come with a healthy dose of bureaucracy. Austrian social insurance, including health, accident, and pension, is an intricate structure, utilizing several players on the national and regional level. We’d like to help you navigate the rules and regulations of the country’s medical insurance system, and soon you will be as proud of it as Austrians are!

Healthcare in Austria

Health is a decisive factor for quality of life and as the last decade of indexes has shown, Vienna is an expert in that department. Guaranteeing high-quality healthcare for everyone in society is no small feat, however, and that often means making expensive treatments and machinery available to patients who rely on social security for their health coverage. Roughly 78% of total health spending in Austria is covered by public funding, amounting to 11% of the national GDP. The price is worth it: In Austria, nearly everyone is covered, 8.65 million people (98.75% of the population), whether they are out of work, self-employed or registered through their employer. And those few who slip through the cracks can still get emergency care in numerous church-owned hospitals.

A Healthy Dose of Bureaucracy

If you want to avoid some of the bureaucratic frustrations and long waits, supplemental private health insurance gives you those additional perks as well as access to different clinics and health facilities. This does not mean the publicly insured can’t consult a private doctor, they simply pay the difference in cost for the visit. In the Insurance chapter, we give you background and insights into the various options within the Austrian health insurance system and the specifics on Vienna’s insurers so that you can make the right choice for you and your family’s needs.

Pregnancy and Parenting in Vienna

Having a baby is challenging enough when you speak the language and understand the cultural cues. When you’re struggling to settle into a new home, it can quickly become confusing and intimidating. In the pregnancy chapter, we outline the process the system has laid out for expectant mothers, the various choices for delivery and the options to be considered concerning parental leave.

Where to go for Treatments

Efficient and effective treatment also relies on mutually understood terms and objectives, which give doctor and patient a basis to communicate. Which hospital is best for which treatment? When should you visit your GP first? What types of treatment are offered in Austria and where? All this and more is answered in the Treatment chapter. We also give an introduction to the pharmacy system and vaccinations recommended by the Austrian government.

Choosing a Doctor

When it comes to the doctors and nurses maintaining the system, it helps to understand where one specialty ends and the next begins. Also, when choosing a doctor, it’s important to know about certain regulations like the quarter rule or Quartalsregelung (see p. 150 in the Survival Guide for Health).

Testimonials and a Glossary

Each chapter ends with testimonials from the medical and Viennese expat community, as well as a map and list of institutions and organizations that can help you get further information on the respective topic. We have also provided a list of English-speaking doctors who specialize in treating international patients, giving you a head start in finding the GP and specialist who is right for you. At the very end of the book, you’ll find a glossary of German terms with explanations and cross-references.

We hope that this book will help demystify one of the greatest healthcare systems in the world and remove some of the confusion surrounding it. Vienna’s medical community has a long tradition of charity, research, and innovation. If we’ve learned anything from Ignaz Semmelweis, it’s that the secret to getting the best results from the system is to keep good records – and don’t let the bureaucratic establishment get the better of you.

Pre-order here at a discounted price until the 1st of December.

Here’s a preview of our table of contents: