Structural Reform of the Social Insurance System
In December 2018, the National Council, the house of the Austrian Parliament, which wields the main legislative power, adopted the Social Insurance Organisational Act (SV-OG), which merges the currently existing social insurance institutions so that there are now only five under an umbrella organisation instead of the current Federation of Social Insurance Institutions.
This is intended to ensure an efficient and modern social insurance system, which is closer to ordinary people. The administrative costs resulting from the structure of the presently existing 21 social insurance institutions will be reduced, and the potential for other cost savings will rise. The funding which becomes available in this way will ensure even better care and services for its clients.
The new structure will apply from 1 January 2020. On 1 April 2019, transitional committees were created in each of the institutions to prepare the merger process.
The coming into effect of the Social Insurance Organisational Act means that for many of the insured the name and remit of their social insurance institution will change from 1 January 2020 (this applies to Regional Health Insurance Funds, company health insurance funds, etc.). However, as a participant in the social insurance system you do not need to do anything. Any necessary changes will be arranged for you, and you will be provided with comprehensive information about the new organisational structure and your new contacts in a timely manner.
Merger of the Previous Nine Regional Health Insurance Funds to Form the ÖGK
From 1 January 2020, employees who were previously insured with one of the nine regional health insurance funds will automatically join the new Austrian Health Fund (ÖGK) instead.
From that data onwards, employees who are currently insured with company pension funds (as well as pensioners) will also either be insured with the ÖGK or in one of the company health institutions which have to be established by the owners of firms.
Merger of the SVA and SVB to Form the SVS
The previous Social Insurance Institution for Businesses (SVA) and the Social Insurance Institution for Farmers (SVB) will merge to form the Social Insurance Institution for the Self-Employed (SVS).
In this way, businesspeople, freelancers and those who carry out self-employed work in the field of agriculture and forestry will be insured with the new Social Insurance Institution for the Self-Employed from 1 January 2020.
Merger of the Current BVA and VAEB to Form the New BVAEB
The previous Insurance Institution for Public-Sector Employees (BVA) and the Insurance Institution for Railways and Mining (VAEB) will be merged to form the Insurance Institution of Public-Sector Employees, Railways and Mining (BVAEB).
Civil servants and contracted employees in the public sector whose employment relationship began after 31 December 2000, and persons whose health and work accident insurance was previously provided by the VAEB, will be insured with the new BVAEB as of 1 January 2020.
Insurance Institution of Austrian Notaries Public
In addition, the Insurance Institution of Austrian Notaries will be transformed into an independent occupational insurance institution.
Efficiency Study by the LSE
In December 2016, the Federal Ministry commissioned a comprehensive study on the efficiency of the Austrian social insurance and health care sectors with the goal of identifying possible improvements and thus further improving performance and services. The prestigious London School of Economics (LSE) was commissioned to carry out the study, which analysed the Austrian social insurance system during the first half of 2017 with the involvement of domestic experts and stakeholders.
The efficiency study showed that the Austrian health care and social systems function well.
Expertise on the Structural Reform of the Social Insurance System
The Federal Ministry also commissioned Werner H. Hoffmann and Tobias Knoll to investigate the potential cost savings involved in the structural reform of the social insurance system. Their expertise on the economic advantages of the structural reform of the social insurance system revealed that there is considerable potential for increases in efficiency and effectiveness in the organisational reform of the social insurance institutions.