Healthcare & Social Affairs
The history of Austrian social security goes back more than 100 years. Social security in Austria is organized within the framework of self-government. Social security agencies were instituted through individual social security laws as instruments of public justice.
On the inter-state level in the field of social security in Europe and beyond, Austria has contracted agreements with a current total of 45 states. The Agreements on Social Security (ASS) are bilateral agreements under international law, which, from the perspective of the insured, leads to the right to receive the same or similar benefits from social security agencies in other states as the insured would receive from social security agencies in their home state. This right is available not only to Austrian citizens but also to all persons who are socially insured in Austria. In order to receive medical benefits during a stay in a member state of the European Union (EU) or of the European Economic Area (EEA), or in the state of Switzerland, the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is required.
Irrespective of whether an Austrian's main place of residence is in Austria or abroad, they can take legal precautions, especially to provide for the event that, as a result of an accident or serious illnesss, they cannot, on a temporary or permanent basis, administer their own affairs; also in the event of death, which, especially abroad, can lead to complicated consequences and lengthy disputes. Individual precautionary measures can be defined by means of wills, precautionary powers of attorney, advance healthcare directives, etc. The chambers of lawyers and chambers of notaries of the nine Austrian provinces provide comprehensive information on these topics.