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How to figure out healthcare abroad

If you haven't got your health, you haven't got anything, they say. That’s why it's critical to secure your peace of mind – and health of body – when you've relocated to a new country. But one size doesn't fit all, so how do you choose?

How to figure out healthcare abroad
Photo: Cigna

No matter what country you’ve decided to call home, healthcare is a must. But getting all your ducks in a row in a brand new place – and perhaps with a language barrier – can be a daunting task.

State-provided healthcare across Western Europe is generally regarded as being among the best in the world for statutory care and emergency treatment. But of course, the details vary from country to country, and there are major differences in waiting times, cost, and accessibility for expats.

“Slotting straight into another country’s national health system may not be as easy as you’d think,” says Arjan Toor, Managing Director of Cigna’s Global Individual Private Medical Insurance.

Some countries have very specific rules about who can use public health services, and in some cases you may need permanent residency before you can enter the system – and that could take years.

“It’s key to research the implications for expatriates in your new country of residence, as all the home comforts you’ve come to expect may not necessarily be available to you.”


Photo: Cigna

Another option for expatriates is to obtain individual private medical insurance, like that available from Cigna Global.

“At Cigna Global, we specialise in health insurance policies for expats, ensuring you have the very best of care available when you need it,” Toor says.

Cigna currently provides health insurance for customers in over 190 countries, with a medical network of over 1 million hospitals and medical professionals worldwide.

“We have a range of products that can be tailored to meet the unique needs of expats and their families,” Toor says.

All Cigna Global policies are fully medically underwritten, with the aim of providing full clarity and transparency on the implications of medical conditions. Full cancer care is a standard benefit included with all Cigna Global Policies, which also come with high limits – such as up to $3,000,000 of care per period of cover (Platinum level policies), covering things like surgeon fees, consultation fees, medical fees and hospital accommodation.

Get a quote from Cigna for International Health Insurance

In addition, there are three levels of coverage to choose from, so expats can choose just the right fit – with options including outpatient care, medical evacuation, and vision and dental care.

“As specialists in expatriate healthcare, we know it’s vital to continue to keep track of the ever-changing needs of globally mobile professionals so we can improve our products,” Toor says.

“We’re always listening to our customers, and we’ll never stop looking for ways to ensure that expats can have the very best care available, regardless of where in the world they call home.”

This article was produced by The Local in partnership with Cigna Global.

For more information on Cigna Global, or to get a quote, please visit www.cignaglobal.com
 

For members

HEALTH

How do I get a European Health Insurance Card in Austria?

An European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) provides EU residents with access to public healthcare across the bloc. Here’s what you need to know about getting an EHIC in Austria.

How do I get a European Health Insurance Card in Austria?

A big advantage of living in Europe is the ability to travel to so many different countries.

But sometimes accidents or illness can happen while on holiday or a work trip, which can mean an unplanned visit to a doctor.

READ ALSO: Austria recommends 4th Covid vaccine dose for everyone over 12

Thankfully, the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) provides some protection against expensive medical bills in the form of reciprocal healthcare. 

Here’s what you need to know about the EHIC and how to get the card in Austria.

What is an EHIC?

An EHIC is a form of medical insurance cover and replaces the international health insurance voucher (form E111). It is issued free of charge and allows holders to access state-provided medical care while temporarily in another EU country. 

It works on a reciprocal basis through a country’s social security system and care is provided at the same cost as those insured in the country (which means it can be free, in some cases).

This means that if you have an e-card and are insured with one of the public health insurances in Austria, such as ÖGK, for example, you are entitled to the EHIC and to access public health services (to a certain extent) in other countries.

FOR MEMBERS: What is Austria’s e-card and what do you need to know about it?

The EHIC is valid in all 27 EU countries, as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland, Macedonia, Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the UK.

However, the EHIC is not an alternative to comprehensive travel insurance as it doesn’t cover any private healthcare costs, a flight home or lost/stolen property.

Why do I need an EHIC in Austria?

The main advantage of having an EHIC is if you need medical treatment while briefly travelling in another country.

While the coverage is limited to state-provided healthcare, it does mean you will be treated by a doctor and not liable to pay non-resident medical fees.

READ NEXT: How Austria is making it easier for non-EU workers to get residence permits

Austria’s e-card – the national insurance card – is needed for almost all medical procedures. On the back, it contains the EHIC Ecard image: Wikicommons

How do I get an EHIC?

EHICs are issued by the national health country provider of the country where you live. This could be, for example, the ÖGK or SVA, depending on which provider you use in Austria.

In Austria, every e-card (the health insurance card that is used to visit a doctor) already contains an EHIC on the reverse of the card, so there is no need to apply for it separately. 

However, if the data fields on the EHIC on the back of your e-card contains stars (***) instead of personal information such as name and date of birth, further documentation is required to access healthcare in another EU country.

In this case, you need to contact your social security provider in Austria to receive a replacement card before you travel.

The EHIC is only valid on the condition that you are insured or co-insured in Austria.

Useful words 

Social insurance – Sozialversicherung

Travel insurance – Reiseversicherung

Healthcare – Gesundheitspflege

Useful links

European Commission

Austrian social insurance

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