Healthcare in Russia



Russia’s healthcare system has made a not so good impression around the globe because of its poor organisational structure and a significant lack of funds. Expatriates who have decided to relocate to this country should ensure that they have adequate medical coverage and understanding of the Russian healthcare system to avoid unnecessary issues.

Since its independence in 1991, Russia has combined private financing and state financing in healthcare. Sadly, the imagined improvement has not come to fruition as most citizens do not have an informed choice about their health care provider options and, most importantly, still show a preference for public healthcare. In the 2016 report released by The Lancet, a respected British medical journal, Russia ranked 119 out of 188 countries in terms of healthcare. The unimpressive bottom-third ranking of this powerhouse nation alarmed the local government and pushed the Ministry of Health to set goals that will uplift the drastic situation of the Russian healthcare system by 2025. The plans include widening the access to healthcare particularly in remote areas, increasing the number of doctors and making prescription medicines more accessible to the general public.

Healthcare Coverage for Expats

Generally speaking, all Russians and expats with residence permits are eligible to receive free public health care. This public healthcare scheme is called Obligatory Medical Insurance or OMI. The OMI is heavily funded by contributions by employers, and once an expat starts working in Russia, his employer will be obliged to pay two to three percent of his salary to the social security system, a percentage that also goes to the national health insurance fund. British nationals do not need separate health insurance as British insurance is accepted in Russia because of reciprocal health care arrangements.

Expats from countries that don’t have reciprocal agreement with Russia are also advised to consider private insurance on top of their free coverage from the state. Russian companies also usually provide employees with health insurance. Still, you should carefully review the coverage of your insurance to avoid any surprises. This insurance should at least have Emergency Medical Assistance or outpatient assistance as most private clinics charge an upfront deposit of $2,000-$3,000. If this benefit is not available, you may want to verify if your travel insurance includes healthcare.

Visiting a Doctor

Russians have excellent doctors, who have made significant contributions in laser eye surgery and heart surgery. Family doctors or GPs in Russia are called ‘vratch’ and expats need to register with one upon arriving in the country. Take note that it is important to bring one’s proof of health insurance, whether it is private or state-funded, when visiting a doctor in Russia. International health insurance in Russia is a must for every expat as the local doctor's service may be free, but the facilities in some public hospitals might not be up to their standards. It would be better to seek private medical care, as there are several doctors in Russia that are part of medical organisations from the West.

Hospitals in Russia

It is true that the quality of some Russian hospitals is sub-standard, but expats should not despair because there are still plenty of excellent medical facilities situated in major cities such as Moscow, the capital. In fact, Moscow houses the best hospitals in the country that attract not just expats in Russia but also foreign nationals from abroad. The three most respectable hospitals in the capital are:

Leninsky Prospect, d.117 Moscow

Tel: (495) 935-691

Trifonovskaya ul., 26, Moscow

Tel: (495) 933-66-55

1/6, стр.5, Moscow

Tel: (495) 937-57-57


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