Around 100,000 Austrians do not have health insurance

Around 100,000 Austrians do not have health insurance, a social issues expert has revealed.Speaking on the occasion of passage of US President Barack Obama’s health reform by the US Congress, Martin Schenk said today (Tues): “Austria has a good health insurance system compared to the United States, but gaps in the network need to be closed.”Schenk appealed to the economy, social affairs and health ministries to become active.He claimed that “lack of information and social disadvantages” were the reasons that many poor Austrians did not have health insurance.Schenk said people without jobs, those in psychic crisis and those who had just been divorced were the most affected. He explained that many were too ashamed of their situations to ask for help.Statistik Austria reported recently that a total of 1,018,000 people living in Austria, or 12.4 per cent of the country’s population, had been in danger of falling into poverty in 2008.The state agency said the threshold for poverty for a single person had been a monthly income of 951 Euros. That amount rose by an additional 475 Euros a month for each additional adult and by 285 Euros a month for each child in a household.Thirty per cent of foreign residents in Austria were from non-EU countries, Statistik Austria added.It also said 492,000 people in Austria had lived in absolute poverty in 2008 and been unable to buy necessary clothes, heat their homes and pay for essential medicines.