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30 Apr, 2024

Residence title and health insurance in Austria

Krankenwagen mit Blaulicht

In order for a residence permit to be issued in Austria, proof of existing health insurance must be provided. This must cover all risks and be liable to pay benefits in Austria. This poses particular challenges for people who are not subject to compulsory health insurance in Austria. Although private insurance policies are accepted, insurance products from abroad generally do not fulfil the necessary requirements. These are therefore usually not accepted by the Austrian immigration authorities.

Residence permit for wealthy pensioners

Max is 76 years old, a US citizen, receives a high pension and also has very good health insurance plan in the USA. He has worked for a US government organisation for decades. Max now wants to see the world. He books a river cruise on the Danube. During a stay in Vienna he likes it so much that he decides to move to Austria permanently.

Max has a sufficiently high income and no longer wishes to pursue gainful employment. So he is eligible for the residence title “Settlement permit – except for gainful employment”. He has also found accommodation in Austria and is currently attending a German course in order to obtain the required language certificate at A1 level.

Health insurance covering all risks for residence permits

The only headache for Max is the health insurance required. Although he has an excellent health care plan in the USA, which also covers the costs of all necessary medical treatment in Austria, he is told by the relevant immigration authorities that his insurance is not sufficient to be recognised as all-risk insurance cover in Austria.

What options does Max have to obtain health insurance in Austria?

People who are not covered by compulsory insurance can take out their own insurance with the (statutory) Austrian Health Insurance Fund (ÖGK). The cost of this is currently (in 2024) € 495.58 per month. The problem for Max, however, is that he has never been covered by statutory health insurance in Austria or the EU in the past. He can therefore only receive health insurance benefits from the ÖGK after a waiting period of 6 months.

However, the immigration authorities require insurance cover from the first day on which the residence permit is issued in Austria. Self-insurance with the Austrian health insurance fund is therefore not an option for Max.

Solution: Private health insurance

Hence, there is e no other option for Max than to take out private insurance. This must cover all risks in Austria, without restrictions. A list of insurance products accepted by the authorities can be found here.

However, it is not easy for Max to take out private insurance in Austria because the insurance companies charge relatively high premiums due to his advanced age. However, as soon as he has received a residence permit, he can take out his own insurance with the Austrian health insurance fund and, after the waiting period of 6 months, cancel his private insurance if it is too expensive for him.

Dr. Alexander Raidl, BA

Pramergasse 21, 1090 Wien

Pramergasse 21
1090 Wien

© Dr. Alexander Raidl. All rights reserved.
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