Saturday, March 8, 2014

Heathcare in Austria

Ok everyone, this is a gonna be a pretty short post, just because I need to express the huge difference I see in healthcare between my home, a suburb of DC, and Vienna, Austria.  Your results may vary, take what I'm saying with a grain of salt.

So I've been feeling under the weather pretty often lately, I'm concerned I have chronic sinusitis or something, but that's neither here nor there.  My host mother made an appointment for me at a specialist, and Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor.

Big Difference #1:  The appointment was set for Friday afternoon, and was made on Wednesday.  TWO DAYS.  Not many places in the US (that I'm aware of) can a new patient get an appointment that quickly.

I arrived at the appointment about five minutes early (BD2:  another no-no for a first time patient, usually you arrive early to a ton of forms) gave them my e-Card, which is my Austrian health insurance card that costs 50 Euros a month, and put my coat away.

BD3:  This doctor moves fast. While I was doing this, simply putting my coat away, I'm pretty sure the doctor saw two to three patients.  Then I sat down for probably two minutes, and my name was called.  I barely had any time to sit down before she sat me up on the examining chair to look at, yep, my ears, nose, and throat.  She spoke at a lightning fast pace (in German, natuerlich), and then said what I think was, "Ok. I don't see anything, but here's a prescription.  If things aren't better by Wednesday, come back."

Uh, ok.

So I went back out to reception, approximately 3.5 minutes after entering the exam room, and asked the receptionist if I needed to pay anything.  BD4: NOPE.  No copay, nothing.  She looked at me like I was crazy.  But what was I supposed to do, just walk out?!

Ok, that was easy.  Walk down to the pharmacy with my 100 euro bill in hand because god know's how much this will cost me.  I needed nose drops and pills.  Surely this would break the bank.  BD5:  NOPE.  Five euros sixty for the lot.

Jeez...European healthcare is nice.  It's almost like they want their population to be healthy.  Weird.