Panel doctors and doctors of choice

checkup at an ophthalmologist

Many medical doctors in private practices have a contract the federal health insurance fund (österreichische Krankenversicherung). Patients enjoy the benefit of not having to pay their doctors directly. The e-card as valid proof of a person’s insurance acts as a "voucher" for payment of treatment.

Patients are free to choose their doctors. There is a system of doctors of choice allowing everyone to be treated by medical doctors who have no contract with the health insurance fund. In this case, however, patients must pay for treatment up front. 80 percent of the amount the regional health fund would have paid a panel doctor for providing the same treatment may be reimbursed, as long as treatment is scientifically recognized. Considering that doctors are free to set their own fees and charge significantly more than the rates paid to panel doctors patients are left to pay a lion share out of their own pocket.

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