Austria is stunning country full of contrasts, and one that attracts many a UK visitor every year. Spectacular scenery, great skiing, vibrant cities with their baroque churches and elegant palaces, and the Viennese coffee houses are just a few of the reasons people choose to visit. While Austria is certainly beautiful and any trip bound to be a memorable one, before you go it is wise to get clued up on the healthcare system and what is covered and what is not covered by your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). |
Using Your EHIC in Austria
As with all EU countries, in order for the EHIC to be accepted you must access a healthcare provider that is contracted to one of Austria’s regional health insurance offices. Look for the signs ‘Kassenarzt’ or ‘Alle Kassen’, which indicate that the practice is state funded. You will then receive free treatment. Only a single trip or annual holiday insurance policy will cover you for private healthcare.
Dentist treatment is slightly different to regular healthcare, although annual holiday insurance or indeed a single trip policy will probably cover dental treatment more comprehensively. If you only have your EHIC and you need dental treatment as a result of an accident or illness, you are entitled to receive care at the same cost as a local resident. Bear in mind though that the state only covers certain dental treatments in Austria so having extra insurance is definitely a good idea.
What About Hospital Treatment in Austria?
Hospitalisation is not usually top of the list of things to worry about when travelling abroad but accidents do happen so it is best to be aware of the process should you require emergency care. For non-emergency hospital visits, a doctor’s referral is required. Once in the hospital, as long as you have an EHIC, you will receive care at the same reduced cost as a local Austrian. Private care will be charged at the normal rates, which can be expensive, so if you prefer to be treated privately make sure you invest in adequate single trip or annual holiday insurance.
Medicines in Austria are charged at a set rate, just as they are in the UK. You cannot claim this back if you only have an EHIC, but as the charge is minimal it is not an issue. Annual holiday insurance, however, may cover all prescription costs too, depending on the policy you have.
You must keep all paperwork in order to claim any expenses back. Any insurance company will require proof of what you paid out before they will reimburse you. If you don’t have insurance and are relying only on your EHIC in Austria, then you must seek out state funded care, otherwise you will be charged top rates for any treatment you have and you will not be able to claim any expenses back. If you plan to make more than one trip abroad in the year, annual holiday insurance is an excellent investment.
Patrick Chong is the Managing Director of InsureMore, an award-winning team of specialists in global single trip and annual holiday insurance policies. Besides offering great deals on travel insurance, Patrick also collects and shares the best free travel competitions to help his clients get the most out of their holidays.
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