The Local Healthcare Insurance System in Russia

The Russian healthcare insurance system has been in existence since the communist era and has been the subject of many reforms since then. When it was created, it provided free access to healthcare to almost the entire Russian population. 

Since the 90’s, following these reforms, a portion of the public healthcare system has been funded by the government and by the regions for the remaining portion. Regions are responsible for regional healthcare centers. 
Free access to healthcare is still available for certain medical care (as defined by the government), such as infectious diseases and accident-related care. 
Regions can decide to provide free access to other medical care in addition to those defined by the government. In this case, they are funded directly by the regions concerned.  

As this public system does not provide a sufficient level of coverage, the government has implemented the obligation to take out private insurance in addition to public insurance, which is funded in part by employee’s and employer’s contributions. This mandatory private insurance only covers a basic package of medical care defined by the government. 
In order to access quality medical care, it is highly recommended to take out international private insurance which covers a wide range of medical care and enables access to private clinics that are much better equipped than public hospitals where equipment is missing and medical staff are lacking.

Seeing a doctor in Russia

Russian doctors

There are no self-employed doctors in Russia. Russian doctors only see their patients at the hospital or in public clinics and with appointments. There are quite long waiting times in public facilities. If you need to see a doctor urgently, you should go to a private clinic: although it is much more expensive, services provided are of a better quality than in a public facility. 

Being admitted to the hospital in Russia

Public hospitals:

Public hospitals do not have enough equipment and medical staff. Appropriate equipment and drugs are often unavailable. 

Private hospitals

They have much better equipment than public hospitals and provide quality equipment and appropriate medical staff. Usually, they can be found in large cities such as Moscow or Saint Petersburg. 

In order to be referred to the most appropriate medical facility for your medical needs, it is advised to use your health insurance plan’s medical network.

Buying medication in Russia

Important: there are a lot of counterfeit drugs in Russia. We recommend that you check the pharmacy (аптека) reliability in which you intend to buy your drugs.  

In case of emergency

Dial 03 (ambulances, medical emergencies).