National insurance in Austria

Basic insurance is provided for the population by the Austrian national insurance system (have a look here). It covers the areas of health insurance, accident insurance, unemployment insurance and retirement pension insurance. It is financed mainly by contributions from the employee and the employer.

Health insurance

A compulsory insurance system exists in Austria. Every employed person must have health insurance. You are not able to choose your health insurance yourself as it is dependent on the particular employer and their field. People employed in private industry are insured by the regional medical insurance company (“Gebietskrankenkasse”) of their particular federal state.


The E-Card

Health insurance covers the areas of illness, maternity and inability to work as a result of illness.

Retirement pension insurance

The purpose of retirement pension insurance is to provide financial protection for the insured person and his or her family members by means of pension benefits in old age, or as a result of inability to work due to illness.

Pension benefits are financed from statutory retirement pension insurance, which works in the form of a system in which the generation which is presently employed pays for the pensions of those who are already retired. In other words, people receiving pensions are largely financed by the contributions of the employed. Other functions of retirement pension insurance are healthcare provision and drug addiction treatment.

More precise information on the pension system may be found here.

Unemployment insurance

A claim for unemployment benefit is covered by unemployment insurance, which is calculated in accordance with the Austrian national insurance system. However, this is not self-administered, but is organised by the federal government in connection with the job centre.

Accident insurance

Accident insurance covers accidents at work and illness while employed. It can generate non-cash benefits and cash payments, generally in the form of accident benefits.

Private supplementary insurance payments can be made in addition to compulsory insurance, for example for special categories, dental costs, supplementary pension contributions, or spa/health resort cures and alternative treatments.

National Insurance contributions

The foundation for the calculation of contributions is the earned income of the insured person. This earned income is used to calculate the insurance contributions. If the income is higher than the maximum basic contribution this is taken into account in the calculation.


 The prerequisites for the contribution-free co-insurance (health insurance) of people living with the insured person in the family unit are


  • that the family members' usual residence is in the home country, and
  • that they do not have health insurance subject to legal directives, and
  • that there is no healthcare with an alternative organisation scheduled by an employer regulated by public law.

Exceptions constitute spouses, life partners, listed partners or main breadwinners under certain conditions.

For certain family members there is a an additional contribution - % of the basic contribution rate – payable by the insured person, so that particular health insurance benefits can be drawn by family members. No additional time periods are set for this.

The additional contribution must be paid in certain situations for spouses, listed partners, for life partners and for breadwinners. The additional contribution is stipulated and collected on a monthly basis from the insured person to the health insurer. The insured person and not the family member is responsible for this and must pay these costs him- or herself.

Provided the following conditions are met, there is no additional contribution to pay:


  • if the co-insured family member is currently bringing up one or more children in the same household or has spent at least four years doing so in the past
  • for co-insured children, adopted, step and foster children or grandchildren of the insured person
  • if the co-insured family member receives an allowance for nursing care (Grade 3)
  • if the co-insured family member of the insured person is a carer or fosterer, in receipt of an allowance amounting to at least Grade 3
  • if there is a need for social protection
  • if sickness benefit, maternity benefit, childcare benefit, unemployment benefit or social benefits are currently being claimed. (Translation by Liz Finney)


More precise information on co-insurance can be found here.