Five ways expats can benefit from international health insurance

Moving abroad is a massive upheaval, physically and emotionally. Knowing your health is covered no matter where you are and whatever happens can be a huge weight off your shoulders.

Five ways expats can benefit from international health insurance
Photo: Tirachard KumtanomPexels

The Local has partnered with leading international insurance broker ASN to bring you five ways that expats can benefit from international health insurance.

You always know where to go

If you injure yourself or become unwell in your home country, you instantly know where to seek help. In a new country, it’s not always as clear. When you have international health insurance, your provider can look into their network of doctors and hospitals and advise you on where to go. Many providers also have 24/7 hotlines you can call for round-the-clock advice.

There’s no language barrier

The only thing more frightening than becoming ill when you’re abroad is not understanding the diagnosis. With international health insurance, your provider is obliged to find you a doctor or specialist who speaks your language. If it’s an emergency, being privately insured guarantees this is always the case. When that isn’t possible, it’s the insurance provider’s responsibility to make sure you know exactly what is happening regarding your health and treatment.

Click here to get a bespoke health insurance policy

You’re fully protected

Once you’ve found your nearest GP, you can hone in on other aspects of your health. Expats often neglect dentist or therapist appointments because they are unfamiliar with local healthcare services. With international health insurance, your insurer can arrange these appointments for you (provided they are included in your policy). When ASN finetunes your policy for you, they can create bespoke plans that include options like optical cover and wellness packages so that you’re covered from head to toe.

Photo: Vitalik Radko/Depositphotos

Your kids are covered too

Knowing your children’s health is protected while you’re abroad is priceless. Many international health insurance policies allow for unlimited paediatrician appointments while some cover your children for all their vaccinations too.

There are also many advantages of international health insurance if you become pregnant while living in another country. You can give birth in a private hospital of your choice or, if there is a medical reason, you can choose to go back to your home country to have the baby. Speak to an international health insurance advisor at ASN to find out more about how international health insurance can benefit you if you are pregnant or become pregnant while living abroad.

Click here to get a bespoke health insurance policy

Manage chronic illness abroad

If you have a chronic illness it can complicate things but it shouldn’t stop you from expatriating. However, it’s not always easy to find cover if you have a pre-existing medical condition. International health insurers are private and so have the right to refuse you cover if you have diabetes or another chronic condition. ASN’s experts know which providers may be more open to covering clients with a chronic illness and in some cases can negotiate full cover for a higher premium.

Once your policy has been activated ASN can help you with everything you need relating to your health insurance. The multi-lingual team is available to answer all your questions and ensure that you get the best possible cover from your health insurance provider. Click here to get your personal insurance quote.

This article was produced by The Local Creative Studio and sponsored by ASN Advisory Services Network.

For members


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