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HEALTH

What is Austria’s e-card? Everything you need to know

Here's what you need to know about the 'e-card', Austria's electronic health care card.

What is Austria's e-card? Everything you need to know
An example of the e-card. Photo: Wikicommons

The Austrian e-card is an electronic chip card linked to the electronic administration system of Austria’s social insurance system, which includes health, accident, pension and unemployment insurance.

What data is kept on the card?

The e-card does not contain software functions, but holds identification data. 

The cardholder’s administrative data is stored on the e-card. It should show your name, academic title, insurance number, card serial number, sex and user group identification.

Cards issued since January 1st 2020 also include a photo of the insured person.

Can I use it for health insurance? 

Patients have to show their e-cards whenever visiting a doctor or hospital. The e-card makes it possible to access medical treatment without needing paper documents.

By reading the e-card the doctor checks via the secure health information network if a person is insured and which health insurance institution has to pay for the medical treatment. 

This data is not stored on the card, but requested online from the e-card system.

Where is the e-card valid?

The e-card can be used by dentists, specialists or general practitioners, at facilities belonging to social insurance institutions and in most hospitals.

Do I still need a paper referral slip from my doctor? 

Yes. A referral or referral slip is still required, which will be given to you by your doctor.

You present this together with the e-card at the institution to which you have been referred. 

Where can I get the e-card?

The e-card will be sent to you automatically by your health insurance provider by post.

How do I get an e-card or a social security number in order to get vaccinated? 

If you do not already have an e-card or social security number, fortunately these are not difficult to get. 

You can apply for an e-card for the purpose of vaccination or to get the Covid-19 green pass at the ELGA website here, provided you have a current photo. 

You can also apply in person at the service points of the Austrian Health Insurance Fund (Österreichische Gesundheitskasse), which can be found here

More information is available here

I am insured several times. Do I get my own e-card from each insurance?

No, you only get an e-card. When you visit a doctor, you can decide which health insurance you would like to take advantage of.

What about health insurance when I travel to other countries?  

On the reverse of the e-card is the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). 

The EHIC replaces the international health insurance voucher (form E111) for the claim of medical treatment during temporary visits such as holidays in member states of the European Union, the European Economic Area, Switzerland, Macedonia, Serbia, Montenegro as well as Bosnia and Herzegowina.

The EHIC is only valid on condition that all data fields are filled out and that you are actually insured or co-insured in Austria. 

Do children and relatives get their own e-card?

Yes, every family member gets their own e-card.   

How does a baby get an e-card? 

An e-card is also automatically issued for newborns. If you have not automatically received an e-card for your baby after a few weeks, please contact your health insurance provider. 

What about coronavirus?

In order to get vaccinated for coronavirus in Austria, you need to show your e-card or have a social security number. 

More information is available at the following link. 

Reader question: Do I need my e-card to get vaccinated in Austria?

What is the Electronic Temporary Disability Report (eAUM)?

The electronic temporary disability report or eAUM allows a doctor to inform insurance institutions about any temporary disability using the e-card system, allowing the patient to get an Austrian-wide standardised certification for their employer.

What is Austria’s Prescription Fee Limit (REGO)?

In Austria, each insured person has to pay prescription fees up to a limit of 2 percent of his or her net income per year. As soon as the 2 percent limit is reached, the release is indicated in the medical practice after reading the e-card.

The physician/assistant notes the release on the prescription so that the insured doesn‘t have to pay the prescription fee in the pharmacy.

E-Medication

E-medication is a function of the Electronic Health Record (ELGA). 

Doctors and pharmacists can check prescribed and dispensed prescription drugs of patients by inserting the e-card into the card reader.

It is also possible to check potential interactions, dosage and contra-indications of prescriptions and medication using this information.

Patients can get access to their medication list by logging in with their mobile signature via the ELGA-Portal. 

E-card Serviceline

The e-card Serviceline is a single point of contact for insured people and healthcare providers.

Serviceline agents can answer general questions of insured and provide technical support for healthcare providers.

What should I do if I lose my e-card?

You should report the loss or theft of your e-card to your health insurance provider or the e-card Serviceline as soon as possible on 050 124 33 11.

The old e-card will then be blocked and the new e-card will be delivered within a few days. If a doctor’s visit is necessary during this time, the doctor can still treat you.

It is important that you know your social security number and the responsible health insurance provider.

There is no need to report the theft to the police.

What do I do with my old e-card when I receive a new one?

If your e-card is exchanged, your old e-card will become invalid for social security purposes when it is reissued. You should cut up your old card and throw it away.

Your old card can also be returned to a social security agency. 

How long is the e-card valid?

The period of validity of the e-card is unlimited. The e-card only needs to be exchanged if the data that can be seen on the card surface changes (e.g. the name) or if the card is damaged.

When the expiry date of the European health insurance card (on the back of the e-card) has been reached and insurance coverage continues, you will automatically receive a new e-card.

What does the e-card cost?

The e-card is issued free of charge.

Will I get a new e-card if I change employer or my insurance status changes?

Your e-card can still be used if you change employers or if your insurance changes for other reasons.

What should I do if I change my personal data (change of name, title, etc.)?

Please report changes to your personal data with the necessary evidence (e.g. marriage certificate, diploma) to your health insurance company. 

Who should sign children’s cards?

Cards from persons under the age of 14 can be signed by the person who will represent or accompany this person during medical treatment.

The signature field can also be left blank and signed by the user themselves after reaching the age of 14. 

Do I have a photo on my e-card?

A new generation of e-cards has been issued since January 1, 2020, which also includes a photo of the insured person. 

Around 85 percent of all cardholders automatically receive a new e-card with a photo, without having to do anything, because the social security system receives the photos from existing registers.

More information on the e-card can be found at the following link

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COVID-19 ALERT

‘The pandemic is not over’: Vienna keeps mask rule in public transport

Austria's capital has decided to keep mandatory FFP2 masks in public transport but is dropping them in supermarkets.

'The pandemic is not over': Vienna keeps mask rule in public transport

Austria’s capital Vienna will still have mandatory usage of FFP2 masks even if the federal government is dropping the requirement in the rest of the country.

It will still be mandatory in Vienna to wear masks when public transport, pharmacies, doctors’ offices, and hospitals, SPÖ Mayor Michael Ludwig announced this Tuesday.

People no longer will need to wear masks in supermarkets and other essential trade, though. The decision was taken after a meeting with the city crisis committee and health authorities, according to the mayor.

“The pandemic is not over yet. We will remain on the consistent and safe path”, Ludwig said.

Earlier this Tuesday, Austria’s Health Minister Johannes Rauch (Greens) had announced the country would “pause” mask requirements from June 1st in all but health establishments during the summer months, as reported.

READ ALSO: Austria to ‘pause’ Covid mask mandate from June 1st

Rauch justified the decision by saying that the coronavirus numbers, both of new infections and of hospitalised people, have significantly dropped and maintained a downwards trend for weeks.

“The number of new infections has fallen, as well as the number of people in hospitals due to Covid-19, for several weeks now. This is good news”, he said.

Since the last major easing step in mid-April, the FFP2 obligation has only been in force in enclosed spaces of hospitals and homes, public transport and taxis, in the customer area of vital trade, in party traffic of administrative authorities and in institutions for the practice of religion outside trade fairs.

However, the federal government sets out the minimum standard for the country, but the different states may adopt stricter measures. Vienna has often kept tougher regulations during the pandemic, including a more extended period when only vaccinated or recovered people were allowed in bars and restaurants.

Vaccination campaign

The Viennese mayor also commented on the suspended vaccine mandate law, stating that vaccination protects and the city would have a “corresponding vaccination campaign soon”.

Ludwig added that he would demand the same from the federal government. “All of this is done to protect the health of the Viennese population”, he said.

Austria this Tuesday reported 2,177 new coronavirus infections after 185,230 PCR tests, according to the Health Ministry. Currently, there are 596 people hospitalised with Covid-19 and 57 in intensive care units.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, 18,607 people have died from Covid-19 in the country.

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