Americans Helping Americans Abroad

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  • 1 "Act II" of the MOVE Act
  • 2 The Trump Executive Order: its effects on immigration
  • 3 U.S. Passport Renewal: Dilly-dallying Unwise!
  • 4 AARO Members Talk FATCA with the AAPA
  • 5 The overseas voter: Can (s)he make a difference?
  • 6 Here for the Long Haul - Investment Options for Americans Overseas
  • 7 VIDEO: AARO Presidential Debate (AARO members only)
  • 8 AARO Presidential Debate Report
  • 9 Goals at Overseas Americans Week in 2016
  • "Act II" of the MOVE Act

    The Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment (MOVE) Act was signed into law in October 2009.  It was landmark election reform legislation for which AARO and its partner organizations advocated actively, and represented great progress for overseas voters, among others.  MOVE
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  • The Trump Executive Order: its effects on immigration

    What we know now: The Executive Order signed on Friday, 27 January, 2017, is designed to at least temporarily (90 days) close US borders to those carrying passports from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, due to terrorist concerns.
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  • U.S. Passport Renewal: Dilly-dallying Unwise!

    Apply for your passport well ahead of planned travel! The State Department informs us that there has been increasingly strong demand for U.S. passports in recent years. This is true everywhere, but in addition, nearly 10 years after implementation of
    Read More
  • AARO Members Talk FATCA with the AAPA

    In May, AARO members John Fredenberger, Delphine Brett-Ziller, and Lucy Laederich attended a meeting of the Anglo-American Press Association in Paris to discuss the implications of FATCA legislation on the 8.7 million Americans overseas. The attendees, many of whom are
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  • The overseas voter: Can (s)he make a difference?

    The closer we get to what is projected to be a close election, the more people are turning their eyes to that other potential voting block: overseas Americans.  Generally, polls are announced as having been conducted in “x” states or
    Read More
  • Here for the Long Haul - Investment Options for Americans Overseas

    On May 18, London & Capital presented an information meeting on investment options we Americans have when we live abroad. Daniel Freedman, head of the US Family Office at London & Capital, moderated the event. Tony McGloughlin, director at London
    Read More
  • VIDEO: AARO Presidential Debate (AARO members only)

    On October 19, AARO hosted a debate with an insider perspective on the 2016 presidential election and where the parties would like to have us go in the next four years. Featuring Joe Smallhoover* (Democrat), Ned Wiley** (Libertarian) and George
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  • AARO Presidential Debate Report

    *Please note that this is a summary of the debate, and the panelists’ responses may be edited or slightly summarized for clarity. For a video recording of the event, please click here. The room at Reid Hall was packed on
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  • Goals at Overseas Americans Week in 2016

    Over the years, U.S. legislation has made it increasingly difficult for Americans to live and work overseas. Our organizations urge Congress and the Administration to review and rethink certain policies that restrict the effectiveness of the estimated 8.7 million overseas
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The Buzz

See the latest trending topics from AARO’s Twitter feed and the “unofficial” AARO Facebook discussion forum: what Americans overseas are talking about today.
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Perspectives from Abroad

AARO members worldwide share stories and perspectives from their host countries: economic analysis, human interest, challenges and solutions.
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Americans Abroad Caucus

The Caucus groups legislators who understand and care about their overseas constituents. AARO is proud to work with these Members of Congress.
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  • AARO Member Benefits

    In addition to its core activity of advocacy on behalf of the almost 9 million Americans living and working abroad, AARO offers benefits to members that can make their life abroad easier and more interesting!
    Read More
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AARO Profiles

Meet AARO volunteers, issue experts and members in distant countries: people you might not otherwise meet but who are central to AARO's mission!
Read more...

Austrian Health Care

Susie Bondi, Vienna, Austria
September 2009

For us, health care was a big consideration when we were deciding where we would retire. Quality of health care was an issue of course, but so was coverage. We chose Vienna, Austria. Although Austria is listed only as 9th best by the World Health Organization, it was far above the U.S.A. listed only as 37th. Vienna, however, was listed as 1st in quality of living by Mercer Consultants, so we thought we would give it a try. We were not disappointed!

In Austria you can be either 100% covered by the public program or 100% private pay, however you can also get supplementary private insurance for “comfort class” hospitalization which includes flexible visiting hours, private room and your private doctor. Everyone who pays taxes in Austria is financially supporting the public system, whether they participate in the public system or pay for private insurance.

Doctors have choices – they can be private, public or both. Doctors want to be part of the public system. There is currently a waiting list for doctors who wish to become part of the public system.

We are covered 100% by the public program. Outside of an occasional 4.50 € we pay for a prescription, we have very few out of pocket expenses.

When you’re 86 years young, experience with the health care system is not unusual, and we are experienced. Last winter Fred fell and broke his nose. The services we received were as follows: the ambulance to the emergency room, the emergency room doctor, the MRI, the CAT scan, the night in the hospital (to make sure there was no internal bleeding) and 2 square meals in the cleanest hospital I have ever seen with the most pleasant, helpful nurses I have ever experienced. The total amount that was not covered by our public health insurance. . . 36 €, which was then covered by our AARO insurance! I was impressed. Fred’s cataract surgery when about the same way – I’m still impressed.

Here is how it works. Each covered individual has a plastic card with a computer chip. The chip has all necessary health care information. You choose your general doctor, then he or she co-ordinates your general care. This includes visits to specialists when needed through the use of an “überweisung” – or transfer form. When you arrive at your doctor’s office, the receptionist will swipe your card, and then you see your doctor.

The down side to the public program is waiting. Private patients make appointments, and they are respected. Public patients make appointments too (or not), but there can be a wait. When you have a little experience you learn certain tricks, like coming early or making appointments on Wednesdays!

Theoretically one should be able to move from one EU country to another while maintaining health insurance. In practice, there are glitches. Misdirection, ignorance and misinformation on the part of our “home” country, France, were very frustrating for us. We finally gave up. Since Fred was a “victim of Nazism”, he was quickly and easily granted admittance into the “Wiener Gebietskrankenkasse”, the Austrian public health insurance system. As his wife, I too was accepted.

The feeling we get from our Austrian medical care is that despite the program being designed for the general public, we are important. Our health and well-being is a concern to our care givers. We are not ignored; we are not made to wait for important, expensive tests. We are treated with kindness and respect. I only wish that the same standards of care and caring were available elsewhere.

 

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