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Living & Working

Social welfare & healthcare system in Austria

Excellent healthcare provided by medical professionals and institutes providing state-of-the-art medical services along with a dense network of public and private hospitals ensure that the healthcare system in Austria is considered to be one of the best in the world.

The social security and welfare
system in Austria

Austria’s social services such as a minimum income as well as social insurance and pension benefits contribute to a very high level of social security for the country’s inhabitants. Together with France, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Italy and Sweden, Austria ranks among the eight countries investing more than one quarter of their gross domestic product in social expenditures. This is clearly higher than the OECD average of 20.1%.

The social insurance system in Austria is characterised by a mix of central and decentralised components. The social insurance system is dominated by legally mandated social insurance benefits as well as universal services for the entire population, regardless of any proven neediness. Part of the healthcare system, public housing, a large proportion of social services, childcare facilities and minimum income are in the hands of regional authorities i.e., the federal states, municipalities and cities.

Austria features a particularly well-developed system of cooperation among the large economic interest groups of employers and employees and with the government. The Austrian social partnership makes a significant contribution to economic growth and social peace in Austria thanks to its ability to achieve a consensus, reconcile interests and take a coordinated approach.


The Austrian social insurance system

The Austrian social insurance system involves a mandatory insurance scheme. Contributions are paid by the employers on behalf of all employees. Self-employed people with a trade license, new self-employed persons and contractors must pay their social security contributions themselves. The statutory contributions of employed persons (workers and freelancers) are automatically deducted by the employers and paid to the tax office. Employers are also responsible for registering their employees with the social insurance system.

The scale of contributions to be paid i.e., the so-called contribution rates varies depending upon the specific group of employees to which an individual is assigned, for example wage earners, salary earners, apprentices, marginally employed workers etc.

The Austrian social insurance system consists of several different pillars:

  1. 01

    Health insurance benefits include assuming the costs of medical treatment, hospitalisation, medical check-ups, childcare allowances, sickness benefit etc. 

    Family members are insured free of charge under certain conditions.

  2. 02

    Accident insurance (“Unfallversicherung”), provides coverage in case of occupational accidents and diseases and their consequences e.g., invalidity and disablement.


  3. 03

    Pension insurance (“Pensionsversicherung”) refers, for example, to retirement benefits.


  4. 04

    Unemployment insurance (“Arbeitslosenversicherung”) encompasses benefits in case of unemployment such as unemployment benefits and emergency assistance.

Mutter Kind
© Eugenio Marongiu / Westend61
Copyright: © Frederik Franz / Westend61 (top) / © Eugenio Marongiu / Westend61 (bottom)

Select a type of insurance
and learn more about it

Health insurance

There are several health insurance providers encompassed within the Association of Austrian Social Security Institutions. The specific health insurance provider responsible for a given individual depends on the person’s place of residence and the professional activity of the insured person.

Top 1 health care index


In addition to covering the costs of medical treatment, hospitalisation, medical check-ups, childcare allowances, sickness benefits and payments during maternity leave, the Austrian health insurance system also assumes costs for dental care, rehabilitation, home nursing, therapeutic aids, examinations within the context of the mother-child pass and nursing.


The underlying prerequisite for taking advantage of health insurance benefits and what the healthcare system in Austria has to offer is presenting the e-card, which every insured person, and, if applicable, her or his relatives, receives from the medical insurance provider within fourteen days after registration with the health insurance provider. The back of the e-card also serves as the European Health Insurance Card, enabling the insured person to take advantage of medical services provided in other EU member states.


Marginally employed persons are given health insurance upon request.


Health insurance exists for, among others:

  1. 01
  2. 02
  1. 03
  2. 04

Co-insurance of relatives

In addition to the compulsorily insured people, the social health insurance system also protects their relatives. An additional contribution may have to be paid in certain cases. Relatives are considered to be the following family members whose place of residence is in Austria:

  • Spouse or registered partner
  • Children born in wedlock, legitimised and adopted children
  • Illegitimate children of an insured woman and, under certain conditions, illegitimate children of an insured man
  • Stepchildren and grandchildren, who live with the insured person in the same household
  • Foster children taken care of by the insured person at no cost, or if foster care is based on official permission
  • Under certain conditions, the life partner and relatives running the household
  • Specified related persons or persons related by marriage and life partners entitled to nursing care payments (starting at Level 3) who, under certain conditions, are nursed by the insured person.

Co-insurance based on additional payments 

marriage and life partners entitled to a nursing care allowance (starting at Level 3) who are cared for by the insured person, the spouses, life partners and relatives running the household have to pay an additional social insurance contribution for the duration of the co-insurance.

This amounts to 3.4% of income (including bonus payments) or retirement benefits i.e., the specified contribution base of the insured person.

The Essential Guide to Living and Working in Austria

The one and only 240-page reference guide in English for international skilled workers to facilitate their start in Austria.

Download the Essential Guide


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