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.
- Healthcare Basics
- Cost of Healthcare in Austria
- Doctors & Specialists
- Drugstores and Pharmacies
- Hospitals and Clinics in Austria
- Emergency and After-Hours Healthcare
- Tips for Tourists
Healthcare In Austria – The Basics
For the most part, healthcare in Austria is public, however, residents are also able to receive private health insurance. The healthcare offered in Austria is affordable, accessible, and of exceptional quality, making it one of the best healthcare systems in Europe. Additionally, healthcare is available to all legal residents, regardless of their age or income level, and is considered universal.
Austria is one of the few countries that does not face a shortage of doctors.
A vast majority of people in Austria are covered by public health insurance which is overseen by the Ministry of Social Affairs, Health, Care, and Consumer Protection. It is a highly inclusive system where people earning above 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. For those earning under a certain amount, or who are disabled, studying, or retired, healthcare in Austria is free of charge.
Private healthcare in Austria is an option for individuals who prefer not to use public healthcare (or those who are unable to use it). Choosing private healthcare means avoiding waiting times, having access to a broader range of physicians, and the flexibility to select from public or private clinics and hospitals.
Although the quality of care is consistent, the comfort level may vary. Private healthcare costs may be influenced by several factors, such as age, gender, and pre-existing conditions. Generally, the older you are, the more you may need to pay.
Cost of Healthcare In Austria
In Austria, doctors usually operate their own medical practices or work in hospitals. Standard working hours and appointment times may vary depending on the clinic. Generally, a regular visit to a doctor can cost between €50 and €100 per consultation.
Available Payment Methods
Credit cards, PayPal, SOFORT, EPS, and Klarna are among the most widely used payment methods in Austria. Apple Pay and Google Pay are also becoming increasingly popular.
Doctors And Specialists In Austria
Typically, your primary point of contact for healthcare in Austria will be your GP (General Practitioner), who may refer you to a specialist or hospital for treatment.
For non-emergency assistance, patients can call the healthcare hotline 1450, which is staffed by trained nursing professionals.
They can provide advice on healthcare concerns and recommend appropriate clinics or hospitals to visit, as well as suggest which specialists to contact, if needed.
Seeing A Specialist
Austria operates a service called the Ärztefunkdienst (medical radio service) in most cities and counties.
This unique service allows GPs to make house calls to help patients who are unable to visit the clinic.
The medical radio service is available in the evenings from 19:00-07:00 on weekdays and around the clock on weekends. Patients can access the service by dialing the emergency number: 141.
Patients can make appointments directly with dentists, eye doctors, or gynecologists, but for other specialties, they will require a referral from their 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
If you need to see a dentist that speaks English or your native language, you can use the Air Doctor app.
Austria offers several options for dental care. While each region has its own dentists, only a few speak English outside of Vienna.
Although health insurance covers some dental procedures, patients are responsible for the remaining costs. About 75% of private-practice dentists have contracts with social services that cover all e-card holders.
When you go for a dental check-up, it’s common to have an initial examination with a hygienist who will evaluate your teeth and gums. After this, a dentist will conduct a more detailed examination. If any further treatment is required, the dentist will schedule a follow-up appointment with you on the same day.
Seeing A Pediatrician In Austria
In urban areas of Austria, it is common for parents to seek medical investigations and treatment for their children from pediatricians. However, in rural areas, General Practitioners (GPs) are more involved in children’s healthcare. Therefore, the healthcare system for children in Austria is a combination of both GPs and pediatricians.
Secondary healthcare for children is predominantly provided by children’s hospitals, while tertiary, or specialized care is offered by state university hospitals, including one private university hospital.
Drugstores and Pharmacies
Finding a pharmacy (Apotheke) in Austria is easy enough since there’s one on almost every street corner. These pharmacies offer over-the-counter medications, including basic painkillers, as well as restricted medication.
Drugstores (drogeries) in Austria, on the other hand, solely sell toiletries.
Pharmacies typically operate from 9:00 to 17:00 during weekdays, and some may be open on Saturday mornings. In larger cities, there are 24-hour pharmacies available. To locate the nearest pharmacy, use the tool provided by the Austrian Chamber of Pharmacists.
You can obtain your prescription (Rezept) medication from any pharmacy (Apotheke) in Austria.
If you have public insurance, a small fee (usually around €6) is required. However, if you have private insurance, you may be eligible for reimbursement of that fee. Some medication, such as antibiotics and high-strength painkillers, may require a prescription, which is not typically necessary for over-the-counter medication in other countries. Austrian doctors are known for being reluctant to prescribe antibiotics, and they will only do so if it is necessary.
Hospitals In Austria
Austria’s hospitals are globally recognized for their efficiency and affordable rates. Hospital standards are among the highest in Europe, with short waiting times and prompt resolution of emergency procedures.
List of Hospitals in Austria:
- AUVA Unfallversicherungsanstalt
- Allgemeines Krankenhaus der Stadt Linz
- Krankenhaus der Barmherzigen Schwestern Linz
- Krankenhaus der Elisabethinen GmbH
- Samariterbund Linz
- Unfallkrankenhaus Linz
- Krankenhaus Barmherzige Brueder Salzburg
- Landeskrankenhaus Salzburg
- Privatklinik Wehrle
- Unfallkrankenhaus Salzburg
- Accident Hospital Graz
- Hansa sanatorium
- Hospital of the Barmherzigen Brueder Graz
- Regional Hospital Graz West
- Krankenhaus der Barmherzigen Brueder
- Privatklinik Doebling (Verband)
- Krankenanstalt Rudolfstiftung
- Unfallkrankenhaus Wien – Lorenz Böhler
- St. Anna Kinderspital
Health Centers & Clinics In Austria
Medical care in Austria is well-funded, which is evident in the high-quality diagnostic and therapeutic equipment found in clinics and health centers, as well as skilled doctors.
Aside from General Practitioner (GP) practices and major hospitals, outpatient clinics in Austria offer a wide range of services, such as physical therapy, orthodontics, nutrition, and osteopathy. Your doctor can guide you on the best course of action. However, it is important to note that insurance coverage for certain treatments may be limited.
Emergency And After-Hours Healthcare
Emergency care protocols may vary slightly across the different states in Austria. Nonetheless, response times are consistently outstanding nationwide. Moreover, hospital staff throughout Austria are generally proficient in English, although paramedics may primarily speak German.
In case of an emergency in Austria, dial 133 to reach the police, 144 for an ambulance, and 122 for the fire department. Alternatively, the Europe-wide emergency number, 112, can be dialed.
Tips For Tourists In Austria
- Austria has a predominantly Germanic culture, where rules and policies are valued for their ability to maintain order and minimize chaos.
- Punctuality is highly regarded, and it is best to avoid keeping people waiting.
- Titles hold great significance in Austrian culture and are considered a form of respect. Therefore, it is customary to address individuals by their title and last name until given permission 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.