Health Insurance in Russia

An overview of the place of insurance in the Russian healthcare system, including the obligations for foreigners…

The medical assistance provided under the mandatory public health insurance system is limited, both in terms of services covered and also the lack of English spoken in state hospitals. All foreign nationals visiting Russia must obtain comprehensive medical insurance (meditsinskoye strakhovanie / ??????????? ???????????) before entering the country, and it is recommended for any foreign national to use private facilities instead of relying on the public healthcare system. Joint policies should be looked into for accompanying spouses and dependent children.

All short stays in Russia should be covered by a travel insurance policy. If the stay is to be longer than three months, an insurance policy covering the whole stay must be taken out. Possession of a health insurance policy for the duration of the intended stay is a prerequisite for issuing an entry visa.

If medical assistance is required, the insurance company should be contacted prior to referral to a medical facility for treatment, with the exception of emergencies. In the case of a serious emergency, some foreign nationals prefer to arrange a trip to a neighbouring country, such as Finland, for private medical care, or to be flown home.

Before signing up to a policy it is worth checking:

  • Medical evacuation and repatriation are covered, including in the event of death
  • Dental care and treatment are covered
  • Exactly which clinics or hospitals can be used (and the standard of them)
  • What are the deductibles for each visit or session of treatment
  • What cover would be offered for existing conditions
  • Whether it is possible to bill the insurance company directly for any treatment, or if all bills have to be paid first then claimed back later

If arranging cover outside Russia, it is important to make sure the insurer is licensed in Russia. Only licensed companies may be accepted under Russian law.

After finalising cover, ideally before needing to make a visit, it is recommended to check which of the clinics and hospitals in the area speak English (or the language required) and would be the best to use. Insurance companies can usually provide details of places to try. Investigate whether there are any emergency services or numbers, or any requirements to register with them. Providing copies of medical records is also advised.

Holders of a temporary residence permit or permanent residence permit (valid for three and five years respectively) must apply to become part of the mandatory national health insurance system (which covers state healthcare only, not private). This is done by obtaining a medical insurance policy from a certified insurance provider. An employer usually deals with this. The issued health card must be shown whenever medical attention is required. Although basic medical care is free, it is limited to non-elective treatment (such as emergencies and consultations with doctors). For more complex healthcare every person (both Russian and foreign nationals) must pay extra, or take out additional medical insurance.

Health Insurance Companies

Most private practices and clinics in Russia work with the following international insurance companies:

Some of the main Russian insurance companies are: