Module 3 – Social benefits for refugees

7.1        Health insurance

To know if refugees have insurance in Austria it is necessary to know which legal status they have

Asylum seekers who made their application in Austria receive the basic welfare support scheme. That includes health insurance as defined by the ASVG. That means that asylum seekers have an insurance with one of the different “Gebietskrankenkassen” depending on where they stay. Apart from that it is possible to cover necessary services that are not included in the normal health insurance after an individual assessment. (Art 6 Abs 1 Z 5, 6 Grundversorgungsvereinbarung – Art 15a B-VG). Unlike native Austrians asylum seekers have no derived insurance for relatives so every asylum seeker needs to be registered separately.

The way of processing the billing of services given to asylum seekers differs in between the federal states. Every federal state apart from Salzburg, Tirol, and Vorarlberg hands out e-cards to asylum seekers. In Salzburg, Tirol and Vorarlberg asylum seekers get a so called ordination card (o-card) with which the entitlement to benefits can be checked via the GINA surface. As a result asylum seekers either show an e-card, an e-card substitution sheet or an o-card.

Refugees who did not apply for asylum in Austria or persons who only registered themselves in Austria while passing through or who did not register themselves while passing through are considered transit refugees and thus are not insured. Many health establishments (Krankenhaus der Barmherzigen Brüder, AmberMed, Luise-Bus/Caritas Wien) and ordinations offer cost free treatment for that group of people.

Since 1.1.2016 hospitals are obligated to check the patient’s identity as well as the rightful use of the e-card. Checking patient’s identity until their 14th birthday is only necessary in case of doubt (Art 148 clause 6 ASVG, Art 98 para 2 GSVG). Established doctors need to check a patient’s identity in case of doubt in a suitable way (e.g. passport, personal ID…).

Asylum seekers get their medicaments in exchange for a prescription at the pharmacy. Persons living in the basic welfare support scheme are freed of the prescription charge.

7.2        Family allowance

Persons who are granted asylum after 2005 have a right for family allowance for children who also are granted asylum beginning with the month when the asylum was given.

Persons assigned to subsidiary protection following the asylum law in 2005 have a right for family allowance for their children if they are granted the same status if parents are employed or self- employed and do not receive help from the basic welfare support scheme.

Persons currently in asylum procedures also referred to as asylum seekers do not get any family allowance.