Supplementary health insurance for Austria – comparison of the cheapest offers
Inform directly online – private health insurance
Austria is a country of the blessed. Yet. In an international comparison, the Alpine Republic in Field of health insurance of a very high quality. Austrians are compulsorily insured in this regard, the corresponding health insurance companies cover a large part of the costs.
Austria (2018) can still be granted a first class seal of approval, so to speak, but the trend with regard to medical care and health insurance coverage is falling. It’s a good thing that there are alternatives and additional products – especially the supplementary health insurance.
The health insurance system – compulsory insurance
Health insurance is compulsory in Austria. In plain language, this means that virtually every Austrian citizen and every person working in Austria is covered by health insurance. In addition to the employed, workers, employees, self-employed, their family members are also insured – there are no insurance premiums to be paid for children. Insurance coverage is also available to pensioners and the unemployed.
There are only a few exceptions to the fact that there is no health insurance, in 2013 the number was around 100,000 people. The reasons for this vary, for example, the loss of compulsory insurance if the income is too low (de minimis threshold of € 405.98 per month in 2015), or foreign nationals without employment. However, these people have the option of taking out private insurance.
Social security and health insurance
Due to this regulation, the compulsory insurance, people working and living in Austria cannot choose the health insurance or social insurance provider. The classification is based on professional and regional criteria. The main responsibility for this is the employer, who must register his employees accordingly in social insurance.
The following health insurers are available in Austria:
- Regional health insurers (GKK)
- Company health insurance companies (e.g. Voestalpine, Austria Tobacco, Railway and Mining …)
- Social Insurance Institution of the Commercial Economy (SVA – Self-Employed and Entrepreneurs)
- Social Insurance Institution for Farmers (SVB)
- Social Insurance Institution for Public Officials (BVA)
As a gainfully employed person, you are assigned to one of these social security institutions, which includes the respective health insurance companies. The contributions are also to be paid there. SVA insured persons must pay the full contributions yourself (there is no employer share) and a deductible of 20% is payable in health insurance (for outpatient treatment). In return, more treatments are offered.
Supplementary health insurance in comparison
As already mentioned, Austrians are spoiled for choice with seven insurance providers and hundreds of tariffs. The question of which tariff is ideal or which supplementary health insurance is the "best" cannot be answered across the board – it can only be answered individually. At this point, online comparison portals are recommended, which give a first overview of the various offers of the Austrian insurance companies.
A blanket answer to the most recommendable insurance is also not possible because the amount of the premium is determined by the following individual factors:
- Selected scope of services
- Entry age of the policyholder
- Health status of the policyholder
Basically, young and healthy customers have to pay the lowest premium. A healthy 20-year-old can find private special class insurance with a deductible for around € 45.00 a month, while a healthy 40-year-old pays € 75.00 a month for the same protection with a deductible – quickly makes 1,000 euros a year.
Tip: From a certain age, supplementary insurance is hardly affordable. Those who get in early will get significantly cheaper tariffs for life. The majority of new customers are under 45 years of age.
Quality assurance – future challenges
In principle, the Austrian social system, especially in the field of health insurance and medical care worldwide, is still "good". However, year after year, politicians fail to do so Ensuring quality for the future too. Society is aging continuously, with lower contributions and taxes from young people. Sooner or later, without corresponding changes and adjustments, this system will no longer be affordable and will hit the wall.
Austrian politicians have known this problem for a long time, but they are unable to adequately counteract it. Blockades of reform and obviously lack of empathy for future generations have been preventing corresponding reforms for years, including for our children and children’s children high quality health care would have to secure.
It is obvious that the higher burdens in the health and pension system associated with the increasing age of Austrian society can no longer be financed by the working class for a long time in this form, under the current circumstances and legal framework. There is also a risk of a two-tier society in health and health insurance, some of which already exists and is tangible.
The health insurance system – supplementary insurance
The somewhat more extensive information on compulsory insurance and the current status quo in the field of health care is necessary in order to ultimately underline the increasing importance and importance of supplementary insurance. The current political failure in this area draws wide circles, some of which are already visible and palpable, some of which will only come to fruition in a few years, maybe in a decade or two.
However, if you live in a welfare state and benefit from it, so too from health insurance and related medical care, he must also be aware of his responsibility towards society and future generations! An apparently possible two-tier society and the largely ignoring future problems by politics is simply not in the sense of a welfare state.
The private, voluntary supplementary health insurance
In addition to compulsory insurance, people with registered 1st place of residence in Austria also have the option of taking out supplementary health insurance. These supplementary insurances are voluntary and private and represent an additional protection, a supplement to the compulsory insurances. So far, however, they have been slumbering for a long sleep, but slowly but surely private supplementary insurances are gaining in value and popularity.
Put simply, the politically caused backlog of reforms causes displeasure and uncertainty. More and more citizens are now trying to adequately protect themselves against this uncertainty. This particularly affects the areas of pension provision and health insurance. Even without knowledge of exact final figures, it can be said that supplementary insurance especially appeal to younger generations. Especially those groups of people who have been working since the beginning of the 2000s are increasingly forced to make additional provisions. This is likely to affect all subsequent generations to an undetermined and unpredictable extent.
Supplementary health insurance is therefore a form of provision that is currently intended to maintain and supplement long-term benefits that have been standard for almost a lifetime for older generations.
Supplementary health insurance – insurance company in Austria
Those who are interested in supplementary health insurance have relatively little choice in Austria. Basically, this market is divided into eight large insurance companies, which are as follows:
- Allianz Versicherung AG
- Donau Versicherung AG
- Generali Versicherung AG
- Merkur Versicherung AG
- MuKi Versicherung AG
- Uniqa Versicherung AG
- Wiener Städtische – Vienna Insurance Group
This small number also creates a much smaller and tamer competition. This is a disadvantage for customers because insurance companies can charge comparatively high premiums.
The health check
A health examination precedes the conclusion of the private supplementary insurance. This is a must for all insurance companies. In part, the policyholder has to provide information about his previous illnesses himself. Flunking to get a cheaper tariff does not pay off: the insurance company has the right to withdraw from the contract if the information is incomplete.
It is worthwhile to obtain various offers – even in the case of previous illnesses. As a test by the Austrian VKI in 2011 showed, insurance companies treat pre-existing illnesses very differently. While some reject a potential policyholder, they do get an offer from other companies.
Attention: The insurance company must report incomplete information only in the event of damage. She can then resign. So be sure to check the completeness and ask twice!
Options in supplementary health insurance
The voluntary supplementary insurance is basically to be understood as a supplement to the corresponding compulsory insurance. Accordingly, considerations should be made in advance as to which weaknesses your own compulsory insurance contains. Future considerations are also recommended due to the partly desolate health policy mentioned – who wants additional insurance, should compensate for weaknesses and possibly also counteract future problem areas.
Important: A waiting period and a minimum term are often agreed when the contract is concluded. The general waiting time is 3 months, the special waiting time (pregnancy, known illnesses) can be longer. There is no insurance coverage during this time – exception: accident, acute infectious diseases.
Negotiation skills and insurance broker
Since the cost of additional insurance is very high, you should take a lot of time. Of course, several offers have to be obtained, if only to make it easier to compare. Insurance companies can be talked about, to a certain extent improvements can be negotiated – in terms of price and services. Those who do not have to live with higher costs. In certain circumstances an insurance broker should also be contacted. For example, if it is unclear where the weaknesses of your own health insurance are, advice is useful. Likewise, when it comes to achieving an ideal addition and protection for the future. Of course, this involves additional costs, but an optimized insurance policy will amortize and justify this expenditure in the long term.
Problem areas – When are insurance rejected??
Unfortunately, the low level of competition in this area in Austria has another disadvantage: Insurance companies have no problem rejecting applications for supplementary health insurance. Of course, this does not happen arbitrarily, but in spite of everything, it is comparatively more common than in a highly competitive insurance sector.
Basically, the dream customer of an insurance company is young, healthy and well-off. Why? Older people with illnesses or corresponding medical records cause higher costs, which has a negative impact on an insurance company. In addition, there is a greater risk of non-payment if there is less earning. These risks are naturally minimized by insurers as far as possible and checked in advance.
Therefore, the optimal entry into supplementary health insurance is at a young age, if possible with or shortly before starting work. In addition, the healthier, the more popular with insurance companies. A correspondingly higher income naturally also provides bonus points. This already shows that a two-tier system is definitely a reality in Austria, even if it has been vehemently disputed by politics, the medical association and the health ministers for years.
For this reason, it is not clear from the outset whether additional insurance will come into existence at all. Potential policyholders must also always reckon with the option of rejection.
Important: Despite the risk of rejection, the health questionnaire must be filled in truthfully! Anyone who tricks, provides false information or withholds information must expect legal consequences.
The cost of supplementary health insurance
Reliable information is hardly possible in the area of costs. Basically, the exclusion criteria mentioned above (age, health, creditworthiness) prevent a cheap tariff. The younger and healthier, the cheaper the tariff.
In addition, of course, the object of the insurance, the insured benefit, has a huge impact on the actual costs. Are basically low monthly premiums of a few euros possible, however, with very low performance requirements. There are hardly any limits to the top, even monthly contributions of several hundred euros are a reality. In any case, it must be checked very carefully whether the costs can justify the benefits.
Note: The premiums are also adjusted annually, the growth rates are 4% and more per year!
Cut costs and save – deductibles, premium refunds, co-insurance
The policyholder has the opportunity to negotiate one or the other savings option. Policies with agreed hospital deductibles should be mentioned above all. Savings of 30 – 60% are conceivable. To do this, for example, you dispense with the special class and take on a certain proportion of the costs yourself in the event of minor problems.
In principle, so-called premium refunds are also possible, but these are anything but the rule. Compromises will probably have to be made here so that this option is included in the insurance policy. If this is agreed, part of the insurance premiums paid will be returned to policyholders if they have not had to claim health insurance for an agreed period.
Another opportunity to keep contributions a little lower is that of co-insurance for family members. Here 5 – 10% savings are possible compared to multiple contracts.
Termination, decommissioning, tax deductibility
In general, private supplementary health insurance policies are life-long insurance policies. If there is nevertheless a desire to terminate this, this can be terminated annually after a period of non-termination has passed. When concluding the contract, it should therefore be checked how long you are committed to an insurance company (definitely 3 years and more with a minimum term). The Notice periods must be observed, here it is similar to car insurance (one-month notice period).
If there are financial bottlenecks that make payments difficult or almost impossible, a temporary shutdown can be achieved. If the payments are resumed, you go back to the same insurance contract. In the event of termination and later re-entry, renegotiation is required; the new contract is generally more expensive due to age.
The annual premium payments can be deducted from tax. These fall into the area of special expenses and should not be missing in any tax equalization or in any annual equalization. The insurance tax that is levied is otherwise 1%.
Private health insurance – the tariffs
For policyholders, of course, are primarily Insurance tariff benefits decisive – if these are sensible, the conclusion and the price can be negotiated. The insurance companies offer a range of different tariffs, with different focuses and service packages. Information about these tariffs follows:
- Hospital costs – special class
- Private medical expenses – alternative medicine
- Outpatient treatment
- Daily Allowance Insurance – Sickness Insurance
- Dental treatment – dental supplement insurance
- Travel insurance
Hospital costs – special class
This tariff offers insurance protection for inpatient hospital stays due to accident, illness and childbirth. Accommodation in the special class is covered (single or double room) and one free choice of doctor and hospital contain. In addition to this, the accompanying costs for children up to twelve years of age are usually also covered, as is hospital transport. As an alternative to the special class, a daily allowance can also be agreed, which means the waiver of the special class in the hospital, or a special class only after an accident (cheaper option).
Private medical expenses – alternative medicine
This private insurance covers the private doctor’s costs and also covers agreed alternative medicine and healing methods. Both is not covered by compulsory insurance. With this insurance tariff, long waiting times can be avoided, as a private patient you use the services of a private doctor.
This tariff covers the costs of medical treatment and outpatient medical treatment. This also includes the costs of prescribed medication, special curative treatments such as physiotherapy, as well as medical aids, such as glasses.
Daily Allowance Insurance – Sickness Benefit Insurance
With this option, entrepreneurs and the self-employed can insure themselves against loss of earnings in the event of illness. Depending on the agreement, insured persons receive daily allowance as compensation for an inpatient stay in the hospital. The same applies to agreed sickness benefit insurance – compensation is payable if you are unable to work due to an illness. However, a waiting period is usually also agreed here; sickness insurance only takes effect from the day after the waiting period.
Dental treatment and international health insurance
The dental treatment and international health insurance tariffs are rarely noticed. Dental insurance is very expensive in Austria and hardly worth it. The situation is similar for international health insurance; Although this is cheap, it is often already included in other insurance products. But a very attractive option for frequent travelers.
Tips: You should pay attention to this when taking out supplementary insurance
Even if it is difficult to make a general comparison of the different supplementary health insurances, there are still some principles that have to be considered when choosing the insurance.
- Pre-contractual notification requirement
As mentioned above, the insurance application and health application must be filled in correctly in order to receive benefits in the event of damage.
- waiting times
To rule out that insurance is only taken out if necessary, the special class insurance only takes effect after a certain waiting period. In the case of individual health insurance, waiting times of around three months are common in Austria, for group insurance the waiting time is one month. In the case of special previous illnesses and insurance that covers pregnancy benefits, the waiting times are longer or nine months. Make sure that the contract specifies when the waiting time will be waived. It should not apply in the event of accidents, infectious diseases and illnesses that can only be identified after the contract has been concluded.
Health insurance in Austria is concluded for life and can usually only be terminated by the policyholder. The contract can only be terminated by the death of the insured and termination by the policyholder. The insurance company may only terminate for significant reasons, such as delayed premiums or a breach of the pre-contractual notification obligation.
- Decommissioning of insurance
The contract should include the possibility of decommissioning the insurance. If the policyholder is temporarily unable to pay the premium, the contract is suspended. Later, the customer can go back to the "old" insurance contract. This is important because the change in health insurance is not worth it, because the premium the higher the older the customer.
- The tiresome fine print
Insurance reassured, it says in the commercial. Yes, but only if you know which benefits the insurance actually covers. As with all contracts, the devil is in the details, also with supplementary health insurance. Fight your way through the small print and ask if you don’t understand certain clauses.
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