Thinking about moving to Austria? Want to know about how to have good health coverage in the country? Here you can find out everything you need to ensure your safety in case of emergencies! Keep reading!
There are several things you need to do before moving to another country – have a stay to settle down, look for jobs, understand the bureaucracies, buy your tickets, go after learning the new language…
But one task that sometimes people don’t remember or don’t know they need is to secure their health insurance.
Austria is a country that stands out when it comes to freedom of the press, women’s rights and human rights. The country is known for its clean alpine air, efficient public transport and healthcare, high-quality education, and low crime rates, impressing its residents.
But in addition to talking about your international health insurance options as an expatriate in Austria, let’s first talk a little bit about how Austria’s health system is structured, what is the difference between travel insurance and expat insurance, which is the coverage you will need, and more.
(And be sure to read to the end of the article to learn more about the different types of visas you can use to start living, studying or working in Europe!)
How does the health system work in Austria?
Healthcare in Austria is mainly public, but there is also the option of taking out private healthcare insurance. Most people access public health by paying a portion of their salary and the service is overseen by the Ministry of Social Affairs, Health, Care and Consumer Protection. However, for those with low or no income, health care is free. Overall, the healthcare provided is affordable and of a very high standard.
Healthcare in Austria is accessible to everyone within its borders, living legally, regardless of their age or income bracket. Tourists and temporary visitors can access Austria’s healthcare, however they may have to pay full price. As always, it’s a good idea to have travel insurance when visiting a new country.
Do expats need to have health insurance in Austria?
Simply put: yes! Health care in Austria is mandatory for expatriates to have a resident visa or work permit.
So, it’s essential that you insure yourself with one of the coverages I’ve selected from the list below 🙂
But in addition to being mandatory, an international health plan gives you more peace of mind. Especially being in a new country, different from your own, with laws, structures and a language you may not know, and unpredictable healthcare costs.
So, by securing international health insurance coverage you will be assured that you are covered in any emergency or unexpected situation. In addition, there are several other benefits that you can get with an international plan (as I will say in the next question).
As an immigrant in Austria, should you get an international health plan like the ones recommended in the list below? Or should you get a national plan?
So, this is a choice that will depend on you, as only you know your specific medical needs, the specific coverage you will need in your insurance, from the duration of your stay in Austria to the options available from national plans.
An international health insurance plan must meet your in-country coverage requirements. If you choose to get an international plan, be sure to check with Turkish government embassies to find out if there is and what is the minimum insurance coverage required.
I’ve never lived in Austria so I don’t know enough about the national plans that might be available and so I can’t say much about them.
With that in mind, below are some of the reasons you might want to choose an international health insurance plan over public coverage:
- Compared to the costs you may incur, international health insurance may have cheaper monthly fees;
- International health insurance may be easier to use if your stay is short in Austria, as you can choose exactly how long you want your plan to be;
- International health insurance has greater flexibility as you can cancel or extend it at any time;
- International health insurance provides coverage in other countries, not just Austria (hence “international” health insurance).
Who do these international health insurance policies cover?
The health insurance companies I have listed below are for the following citizens living in Austria as expatriates, immigrants, workers, or even students:
- Citizens of the European Union (Portuguese, French, German, Dutch, Spanish, Polish, Belgian, Swedish)
- British (English, Scottish, Welsh, Irish)
- New Zealanders
- And for citizens of almost any other country
In addition to expatriates/immigrants residing in Austria, these companies also operate for residents living in:
- the United States;
- Europe (European Union and United Kingdom);
- And for expats living in almost any other country in the world.
Overall, as they are plans and international companies, they can be used by virtually anyone anywhere, since they have worldwide coverage!
Why can’t I get travel insurance when I move to Austria? What is the difference between travel insurance and expat insurance?
Travel insurance is important and necessary for any trip, as it will not only cover problems you may experience in case of emergencies and unexpected medical problems, but also for problems with travel, such as lost baggage or flight cancellation.
It is important to know that travel insurance is not ideal for immigrants. Although it is possible to have travel insurance for longer periods, it is only for travelers with temporary stays in a country. Travel insurance covers are not valid for someone who will stay in another country for the long term.
In addition, travel insurance will not meet your health insurance coverage required by law to live in Austria.
So, you’ll really want to choose an insurance plan that specifically covers expats. And that is exactly what I will help you with the list below.
What are the 7 best health insurance for expatriates and immigrants in Austria?
I know it’s stressful to find the right insurance plan. With that in mind, take a look at the company comparison table I recommend below. So you can quickly see what are the pros and cons of each company and make the best choice for you!
After the table, I will make a longer description of each of the companies, their plans, main benefits and more!
So the biggest advice I can give is to quickly quote each of the companies on this list before making your decision. It may take a while, but at the end of the day, you can save a lot of money!
Attention: This article and table are made for informational purposes as the information contained here is subject to changes and updates.
In my opinion, the best international health insurance companies for expats are:
- Global Underwriters
- Foyer Global Health
First, Cigna. It is a company founded in the United States but has a large role in Europe. It’s a great choice when it comes to international health insurance.
With more than 60 years in this area in the market, Cigna has great recognition because of its insurance and worldwide they have more than 170 million customers. My partner, Nikki, actually purchased a health plan from Cigna to fulfill the validation requirements of her residence card in Sweden.
Cigna is a company with high diversity of plans for you to choose, including specific plans for expatriates (and that work great if you are moving to Austria!), in addition to individual and family plans).
There are individual or family plans for you who are moving to Austria. One advantage of Cigna’s plans is that you have the possibility to add benefits to your plan according to your specific needs and the type of medical care you need to cover.
You can choose between the Silver, Platinum or Gold plan, which has coverage in more than 200 countries and territories around the world.
If you are looking for a cheaper insurance plan for Austria, a great option is the Cigna Close Care plan. This plan is particularly the most affordable that Cigna has, because the coverage is only for its country of origin and the country where it intends to reside (Austria in this case).
Advantages of an international health insurance plan with Cigna:
- Service available 24 hours, every day of the week
- Flexibility to change plans tailored to your needs
- Has coverage for COVID-19 and PCR testing
- You do not need to register to make a quote
- It has a digital system to find hospitals and clinics with care close to your location
- Cigna, for the most part, pays healthcare providers directly, without the need for a refund system
Disadvantages of an international health insurance plan with Cigna:
- Some plans do not cover motherhood
Another company with great recognition in the area of international insurance is IMG. It has over 25 years of experience and 3 subsidiaries around the world.
IMG has several types of plans for your choice, both for individual profiles or entire families. They also have a variety of plans specific to types of travelers, such as expats. You will see that they have the possibility of plans with long stays of 1 year or more, but also short-term travel plans.
Their website is intuitive and easy to navigate, with filters for dates, plan duration, destination and more that make your search easier. In addition to these filters, you can add your personal details like age and specific needs for the best coverage.
Thus, IMG will provide a detailed quotation that allows a comparison of plan and coverage options for you to have freedom and choose what is best.
Only pay attention to the details of each plan, as some do not have coverage for all age groups and not all of your plans cover the needs of Covid-19.
Advantages of an international health insurance plan with IMG:
- You have the choice of Portuguese on the site
- Customer service 24 hours, 7 days a week
- Flexibility in profiles and plans
- Availability of more than 17,000 clinicians to support
Disadvantages of an international health insurance plan with IMG:
- Not covered by COVID-19 depending on plan
- No coverage for 75+ year olds
Now Health International is committed to offering a service that is efficient, affordable, and easily accessible, as reflected in its name. The company places great emphasis on fostering strong customer relationships. They prioritize providing clear and concise information about their plans and promptly addressing any inquiries or concerns through their dedicated customer support team.
Now Health plans are specifically tailored to meet the diverse challenges faced by individuals living abroad. They aim to provide guidance and facilitate access to exceptional healthcare services worldwide.
Advantages of an international health insurance plan with Now Health:
- Customized plans according to your needs
- Clear information and excellent customer service team
- Provides coverage in 194 countries and territories
- Plans with high coverage routine maternity coverage
Disadvantages of an international health insurance plan with Now Health:
- You must wait a 12-month grace period to use maternity coverage.
- In some procedures, it is necessary to use the company’s reimbursement system, which means that you would have to pay for your care initially
4. Aetna (acquired by Allianz)
Aetna is a leader and award winner in the area of international insurance. If you’re in search of safety and credibility in your choice of insurance provider before your move to Japão, Aetna is a good company to consider.
Although they don’t have a large variety of plans on offer, the ones they do have give you the flexibility to adjust and add on complementary coverage (like dental care). Depending on the policy, some include coverage of up to 5 million USD.
You can choose from family or individual plans, as well as include coverage for repatriation and medical evacuations.
As an expat, I can recommend the Aetna Pioneer plan. This plan has basic coverage of up to 1.75 million USD. Just fill out the short form on their website to get an exact quote and detailed information about all of the available policies.
Pros of an international health insurance plan with Aetna:
- Maternity care is covered
- Aetna has a mobile app to help you easily find nearby medical services and providers
- Short-, mid-, and long-term plans to choose from
- Customer services available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
- Pre-trip assistance available to help answer your questions on things like vaccines and accessing regularly-used medications while traveling
Cons of an international health insurance plan with Aetna:
- Few plans to choose from
- Cost of plans above the average of the other companies on this list
SafetyWing is a popular and well-known company particularly for insurance for digital nomads, given that they have insurance plans specifically for remote workers and companies, expats, and digital nomads.
One of the advantages of SafetyWing is that its policies are a little more accessible and easier to understand than the other options on the market. SafetyWing also covers children aged 2-10 for free if their caretakers have a plan with them.
Each plan has a specific price that depends on your age. The cheapest SafetyWing plan doesn’t cover pre-existing conditions, but it does have coverage of up to 250,000 USD. Though you do have the freedom to add additional pre-existing condition coverage separately if you need to.
What I like most about SafetyWing is that they offer 30 days of coverage for free in your home country for every 90 days that you use it overseas, like in Japão or the EAU in general.
Pros of an international health insurance plan with SafetyWing:
- Modern, intuitive website that makes it easy to find policy info
- Customer services available 24 hours a day every day of the week
- 30 days of coverage given for free in your home country for every 90 days of coverage overseas
- They cover Covid-19 and treatments recommended by specialists
Cons of an international health insurance plan with SafetyWing:
- Plans aren’t quite as complete and tend to have lower coverage overall than some of the other options on this list
- The prices shown on the website don’t include taxes and fees
Global Underwriters is another well-known and very popular company when we talk about insurance. They have policies that serve immigrants, students, digital nomads, and expats with will be beginning a new life elsewhere in the world.
For anyone who is moving to Japão, I recommend the Diplomat long Term or the Diplomat International Plan. Both have very complete medical coverage that in general includes all that an expat may need in their new home.
Pros of an international health insurance plan with Global Underwriters:
- Up to 1 million USD in medical coverage is included in the plans cited above, plus 1 million USD in coverage for cases of accidental death or dismemberment
- Client support available 24 hours a day each day of the week
- The plans I mentioned include emergency dental coverage, medical evacuation, and repatriation of mortal remains
Cons of an international health insurance plan with Global Underwriters:
- The Diplomat Long Term plan doesn’t protect travelers in Iran, Afghanistan, or Cuba
- The Diplomat International plan doesn’t have Covid-19 coverage
- Global Underwriters doesn’t work with residents of Australia, Iran, South Dakota, Maryland, or New York
Foyer Global Health is renowned for its international health insurance plans for travelers, expats, digital nomads, and immigrants.
They are a company with many, many plans to choose from (probably more than any other company you’ll find out there), as well as being a trustworthy organization (they are part of the larger European Foyer Group).
Pros of an international health insurance plan with Foyer Global Health:
- All plans include coverage for dental surgeries, appointments, and treatments
- Customer service available online by email or by phone 24/7
- Includes pre-trip preparation support on vaccinations and in preparing a first aid kit
- Coverage available for evacuation and repatriation
Cons of an international health insurance plan with Foyer Global Health:
- The limits of their plans aren’t very clear
GeoBlue has spent 20 years providing insurance plans with international health coverage.
But GeoBlue only allows their plans to be purchased by citizens and residents of the United States. So if you aren’t an American citizen or green card holder moving to Japão, you can skip this option.
GeoBlue has health plans for all types of travelers, including immigrants. Their Xplorer Essential plan is the one I most often recommend since it’s made for long stays overseas and has unlimited coverage.
But if you’re looking for a shorter plan, take a look at GeoBlue’s Voyager option. Just fill out the form on their website or reach out to an insurance broker to get a quote and more detailed information about their plans.
Pros of an international health insurance plan with GeoBlue:
- They have an app with resources like telehealth
- 24/7 customer services
- All of their plans include unlimited coverage
Cons of an international health insurance plan with GeoBlue:
- Their plans are only available for residents of the United States or American citizens
- Not a lot of flexibility in their plans
- You need to fill out a form or contact an insurance broker to get more information and an exact budget for their plans
Types of Austrian Visas
The most used visas for those who want to reside in Austria are:
- C Visa – Schengen Visa. This is a short-term visa that allows you to stay in Austria for up to 90 days within a 180-day period. A Schengen Austria visa can be of different types:
– Austria tourist visa.
– Austria Business Visa.
– Austria Short Stay Student Visa.
– Austria Medical Visa.
- D visa – also known as a resident visa, as it is a long-term visa. It allows you to stay in Austria from 91 days to six months. Within those six months, the D Visa allows you to apply for an Austrian Residence Permit and settle in Austria on a long-term basis. Types of D visas for Austria include:
– Austria Work Visa.
– Austria Student Visa.
– Austria Family Visa.
– Residence Permit in Austria for Retirement
Austria Visa Requirements:
To apply for a visa to Austria, you need to prepare some documents:
- Passport/Travel Document. Your passport needs to have at least two blank pages and must be valid for at least six months and issued within the last decade.
- Visa Application Form. You need to fill this out and sign it. You can find the form here.
- Recent Photos. These photos need to follow the Schengen visa photo rules as defined by ICAO.
- Visa fee. You need to pay a certain amount to apply for your visa. The fee depends on the type of visa (see below).
- A Letter of Purpose. You need to present a letter of introduction, in which you must clearly state the reason for your visit.
- An Itinerary. You must provide the correct dates for your flights and your plans during the trip.
- Travel insurance. You must have Schengen travel insurance that covers any medical and emergency problems up to €30,000.
- Civil Status Documents. This could include birth certificates or your marriage license.
- Accommodation Proof. You need to provide your hotel booking or proof for any other type of accommodation you have secured.
- Proof of Financial Means. You need to provide proof that you have sufficient means to finance your travels to Austria.
- Copies of Previous Schengen Visa. Applicable only if you have held a Schengen visa before.
Depending on your visa and the reason for your visit, you may need additional documents:
- University records (if you are a student).
- Employment contract.
- Bank statement.
- Proof of pension (if you are retired).
- Commercial license (if you are self-employed).
- Proof of invitation (if you are visiting family or applying for a residence permit for reunification purposes).
- Medical records (if you are seeking medical help).
Here are the 7 best health insurance companies for expats and immigrants moving to Austria:
- Now Health
- Aetna (Allianz)
- Global Underwriters
- Foyer Global Health
Starting a life in the land of dreams can be a complicated decision…I hope that with this article you will clear many of your doubts and make this process easier! If you still have any questions about getting health insurance for your move to Austria (or moving abroad in general), let me know in the comments area below and I’ll get back to you!
Planning your next trip?