How robust is your country's health system

Healthcare in comparison - Austria and Germany

Even if Austria and Germany are close neighbors, their health systems differ in many respects. Read here how the organization and financing of the two systems work and what advantages and problems they bring with them.

Health care in Austria

Let's start with Austria. In the following we deal with the structure, the advantages and the problems of the Austrian health system.

Organization and financing

The health system is administered by the federal, state, local and social security agencies. Health care costs are largely financed by public funds. These consist of social security contributions, taxpayers' money, but also private contributions. The private funds consist of, among other things, deductibles, private health insurance or prescription fees. Social security contributions are paid by insured persons.

An important point is the compulsory insurance that is associated with gainful employment. This means that the insured do not have a say in which insurance they come under. Members of the family and partners can also be insured in this insurance. In addition, self-insurance is also possible in some cases.


The majority of the Austrian population has their own health insurance due to compulsory health insurance. Another great advantage of the Austrian health system is that everyone is guaranteed equal and easy access to health services thanks to solidarity-based financing. Age, place of residence, social status, income or origin are not taken into account here.


Although the system has many advantages, such as equal medical care for all, it also has some problems to contend with. These include:

  • High financial costs
  • Long waiting lists in the resident area
  • Supply gaps in branches
  • Little medical offspring
  • Austrians get seriously or permanently ill earlier
  • Bad pay for country doctors
  • Overcrowded ambulances
  • Few pediatricians
  • Low birth places

Health care in Germany

Now to health care in Germany. Here, too, we deal with the organization, the financing and the advantages and disadvantages of this system.

Organization and financing

The health care system in Germany is fundamentally based on four basic principles: compulsory insurance, contribution financing, the principle of solidarity and the principle of self-administration.

The former means that all citizens are obliged to take out statutory health insurance. However, this is dependent on income. An income below the compulsory insurance limit means that you are not obliged to take out insurance. If you have a higher income, you can also take out private insurance.

The background to contribution financing is that the health system is mainly financed by contributions from the population with health insurance and by employers. In addition, there are grants from various tax revenues.

The solidarity principle supports the community of solidarity, since all statutory insured persons are entitled to medical care and continued payment of wages during illness. The amount of the contribution depends on the respective income, so everyone is responsible for everyone.

The final rationale is the self-governance principle. As a rule, medical framework conditions are decided by the state - further organizational and financial services in the medical field are administered by the company and decided jointly by groups representing the various medical professions, hospitals, health insurance companies and the insured.


A major advantage of the German health system is its worldwide ranking, as it is one of the best medical systems. This is mainly thanks to the combined system of statutory and private health insurance, as benefits increase due to competition. The financing of medical care is stable and secure. The adjusted insurance fees also make the German health system particularly strong.


But even if the system is among the best in the world, it has some problems. These include, among others:

  • Missing nurses
  • Insufficient salary for nurses and geriatric nurses
  • Aging of skilled workers
  • Rising costs for younger generations


In summary, the following table gives an overview of the two health systems:

Statutory health insuranceStatutory and private health insurance
Private supplementary insurance
You can get rid of statutory health insurance
Health care provided by the federal, state, local and social security organizationsThe employer pays 50% of the health insurance costs and the employee the other 50%
Health insurance contribution through taxes, membership fees and low deductiblesPremiums for the family Premiums are the same nationwide
Social benefitsDental insurance is part of health insurance
Clear regulation of responsibilities
Requirement plans regulate the establishment of doctors

Since every country has its own health system, we also have other comparisons, for example with the health system in Switzerland. Please visit our article The health systems of Austria and Switzerland in comparison.