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Travelers Guide to Healthcare in Austria

An in-depth guide on healthcare in Austria for travelers, from pharmacy runs to emergencies – here's everything you need to know.

The Republic of Austria is a landlocked country located in the southern part of Central Europe, situated in the Eastern Alps. Austria is composed of nine federated states – one being Vienna – the country’s capital and largest city.

Although Austrian German is the official language, many Austrians communicate informally in various Bavarian dialects.

Before you head to Austria, here’s a traveler’s guide to healthcare in Austria.

Contents

Healthcare In Austria – The Basics

For the most part, healthcare in Austria is public with an option to obtain private health insurance. Generally, healthcare provided in Austria is affordable, accessible and of an extremely high standard. In fact, it is among the best healthcare in Europe. It is also universal for all legal residents, no matter their age or income bracket.

Austria is one of the few countries in the world that isn’t experiencing a shortage of doctors.

Public Healthcare

Public health insurance in Austria is widespread and covers most people. Healthcare in Austria is overseen by the Ministry of Social Affairs, Health, Care, and Consumer Protection. It is a very inclusive healthcare system.

People in the country earning over a certain amount have a portion of their salary automatically deducted for healthcare, pension, and accident insurance. Employers also make contributions to match this amount. In addition, healthcare in Austria is free of charge for people who earn under a certain amount, or who are disabled, studying, or retired.

Private Healthcare

Private healthcare in Austria is available for people who either cannot or would rather not use public healthcare. In general, private healthcare means no waiting times, a wider selection of physicians, and the choice of both public or private clinics and hospitals.

While the quality of care doesn’t vary much, the comfort of care might. Usually, the older you are the more you will pay – in addition to other factors such as gender and pre-existing conditions.

Cost of Healthcare In Austria

Doctors in Austria typically have their own medical practices, but they might also work in hospitals. Normal hours and appointment times may vary considerably from clinic to clinic. Generally, a routine doctor’s visit can cost anything between €50 and €100 per consultation.

Available Payment Methods

In Austria, the most prominent payment methods are credit cards, PayPal, SOFORT, EPS and Klarna. Apple Pay and Google Pay are also gaining popularity.

Doctors And Specialists In Austria

In general, most of your healthcare in Austria will go through your GP (General Practitioner). But if you need to see a specialist or need to get hospital treatment, your GP will likely be the one to provide you with a referral.

Patients who require non-emergency assistance can call a handy healthcare phone number: 1450.

This hotline provides trained nursing staff who advise callers on healthcare concerns. The staff is also versed in recommending appropriate clinics or hospitals to visit, or if needed, which specialist to contact.

Seeing A Specialist

Most cities and counties within Austria run a service called the Ärztefunkdienst (medical radio service).

Interestingly this is where GPs make house calls to assist patients who cannot make it to the clinic. The radio service is available in the evenings from 19:00-07:00 during the week and all hours on the weekend. Patients can access the service through the emergency number: 141.

To see a dentist, eye doctor, or gynecologist, patients can make appointments directly. But for other specialties, you will need to get a referral from your GP. If you’d prefer not to get a referral from your GP, you can download the Air Doctor app for Android or Apple to find a specialist who speaks your language.

Seeing A Dentist In Austria

There are plenty of good options for dentists in Austria. Every region in Austria handles its own dentists, but very few speak English outside of Vienna.

If you need to see a dentist that speaks English or your native language, you can use the Air Doctor app.

Although health insurance does cover some dental procedures, the patient is responsible for the rest. Around 75% of private-practice dentists have contracts with social services, and this will cover all e-card holders.

If you’re receiving a dental check-up, you’ll typically see a hygienist first. They will check your teeth and gums before a dentist examines you. If follow-up procedures are necessary, the dentist will usually make an appointment with you on the day.

For emergency dental assistance:

  • The Emergency Clinic of the University Clinic of Dentistry Vienna in Vienna is open every day from 08:00-13:00 – including weekends and holidays. It has an arrangement with all major insurers, so it should be covered by your Austrian social security insurance.
  • Dental Aesthetics is open until 22:00 on weekends and has contracts with SVA and KFA health insurance companies. They deal with toothache, tooth fracture, broken tooth, loss of dental crowns, lost fillings, and more.
  • Alternatively, you can try Meinzahn which operates on weekdays and weekends, and holidays between 08:00 and midnight 365 days a year.

Seeing A Pediatrician In Austria

Usually, in urban areas of Austria, most parents tend to contact a pediatrician for medical investigations and treatment of their children. But in rural areas, GPs play a bigger role. Essentially, children’s healthcare in Austria is a mixed system of GPs and pediatricians.

Secondary child healthcare is mostly provided by children’s hospitals. While tertiary, or highly specialized care runs through the state university hospitals, including one private university hospital.

Drugstores and Pharmacies

You won’t have any issues with finding a pharmacy (Apotheke) in Austria. There’s practically one on every corner. Here you can find over-the-counter medication, like basic painkillers, and restricted medication.

In Austria, drugstores (drogeries) only sell toiletries.

Most pharmacies are open from 9:00 to 17:00 during the week. Some may open on Saturday mornings. Major cities in Austria have 24-hour pharmacies too. Use this tool from the Austrian Chamber of Pharmacists to find your local pharmacy.

In Austria, you can fill your prescription (Rezept) at any pharmacy (Apotheke).

If you have public insurance, you need to pay a small fee (usually around €6), generally, with private insurance, you can get reimbursed for that fee. You may need a prescription for some medication that’s available over the counter in other countries, like antibiotics and high-strength painkillers. Unlike in other countries, doctors in Austria are known for their hesitancy to prescribe antibiotics. You’re unlikely to get a prescription for antibiotics unless it’s absolutely necessary.

Hospitals In Austria

Hospitals in Austria are world-renowned for efficiency and competitive prices. Hospital standards are considered one of the highest in Europe, waiting times are low, and emergency procedures are quick to resolve.

List of Hospitals in Austria:

Upper Austria:

Salzburg:

Styria:

Vienna:

Health Centers & Clinics In Austria

Since medical care in Austria is so well invested, clinics and health centers are equipped with high-quality diagnostic and therapeutic equipment, and doctors are well-trained and highly qualified.

Outside of the GP practice and major hospitals, there are outpatient clinics in Austria that offer anything from physical therapy to orthodontics, and nutrition to osteopathy. Generally, your doctor can advise you on the best route to go. Keep in mind, that insurance may or may not fully cover all treatments.

Emergency And After-Hours Healthcare

There are a few emergency care differences between the states in Austria. Despite this, response times across the country are excellent. In addition, hospital staff throughout Austria will generally speak good English. But paramedics tend to primarily speak German.

In an emergency in Austria, dial 133 for the police. Dial 144 for an ambulance and 122 for the fire department. Or you can just dial the Europe-wide emergency number: 112.

Tips For Tourists In Austria

  • Austria has a very Germanic culture, and the idea that rules and policies are there to help reduce being out of control is popular.
  • Punctuality is king, so it’s best not to keep people waiting.
  • Titles are very important and denote respect. So, use a person’s title and surname until invited to use their first name.

Some Useful Phrases:

As with many cultures, knowing even a few phrases in the local language will go a long way. Even if you only master a few essential words, chatting to locals will be more rewarding.

  • Rufen Sie einen Krankenwagen: Call an ambulance!
  • Ich brauche einen Arzt: I need a doctor
  • Es gab einen Unfall: There’s been an accident
  • Bitte beeilen Sie sich!: Please hurry!
  • Ich habe mich geschnitten: I’ve cut myself
  • Ich habe mich verbrannt: I’ve burnt myself
  • Ist alles in Ordnung?: Are you OK?
  • Geht es allen gut?: Is everyone OK?

If you are a tourist in Austria and would like to speak to a medical professional connected to an international network of doctors, you can make an appointment on the Air Doctor app right now and have an in-person or virtual consultation within minutes.

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Jenny Cohen Drefler

Jenny Cohen Derfler

Air Dr CEO & Co-Founder

Jenny is the CEO and one of the Co-Founders at Air Doctor. She spent more than 20 years at Intel, most recently as general manager of its manufacturing facility in Israel and before that in various engineering and manufacturing roles in Silicon Valley. Air Doctor is her second startup having previously founded electric vehicle company ElectRoad.