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State Healthcare in Russia

Details of the public healthcare facilities available in Russia…

Free basic medical care is provided to everyone in the country, without discrimination, partly funded by the state and partly by a mandatory health insurance system paid into by employers on behalf of employees. The state pays for pensioners (both age and sickness related), school-age children, students and the unemployed. Self-employed professionals must make their own health insurance payments. It should be possible to get help or advice about how and where to make payments for spouses or children for this health insurance from an employer.

Public medical care is provided in federal and municipal care facilities. These include:

  • Health posts (feldsherskyi punkt / фельдшерский пункт): These are the smallest facilities, located in rural areas and providing basic health care
  • Health centres (bolnitsa / больница): Here some minor surgeries can be performed. They are usually staffed by a team of nurses in conjunction with a paediatrician, a general practitioner and a midwife/gynaecologist
  • Urban polyclinics (gorodskaya poliklinika / городская поликлиника): These provide general medical care with specialists in areas such as cardiology, oncology and obstetrics
  • Specialised medical hospitals (spetsializirovannaya bolnitsa / специализированная больница): These provide a full range of services, usually found in the larger cities and open 24 hours a day

Only very rarely are English-speaking staff found in any of these facilities, except in the largest city hospitals, so help with the language might be needed if a public healthcare institution has to be used. Standards can be a lot lower than in other countries, and although in large urban areas equipment might be more modern and plentiful, clinics in rural areas might be a lot older with less supplies.

In smaller cities, towns and villages outside the main centres of population, there may be no other options than public healthcare, so a Russian-speaking interpreter will be required to accompany any visit to a doctor or hospital for non-Russian speakers.

Health Card

Every long-term resident of Russia (on more than a three month visa) should have a health card (meditsinskaya karta / медицинская карта) including the national health policy insurance and should present it to the person in charge before receiving free medical care. An employer will normally help with the application for this.

The national health policy insurance is a mandatory health insurance system paid into by employers on behalf of employees entitling the employee to free basic public medical care (provided to everyone in the country by the state). On top of this it is highly advisable to have a comprehensive health insurance policy with a reputable company allowing access to private medical care.

Healthcare Options for Different Nationalities

For information on the medical care available to the citizens of the following countries and what is recommended by the relevant embassies, see the sections below:

  • UK: British nationals are entitled to limited, free medical treatment in Russian state hospitals as part of a reciprocal agreement between the two countries. For more information: Click here
  • USA: The United States Social Security Medicare Program does not provide coverage for hospital or medical costs in Russia, so private travel insurance is needed for any US citizen traveling to Russia. For more information: Click here
  • Canada: Canadian citizens require comprehensive private travel insurance for Russia. More information about health and travel in Russia can be found on the travel advice website of the Canadian government: Click here
  • Australia: Comprehensive private travel insurance is required by Australian citizens in Russia. More information about health and travel can be found on the travel advice website of the Australian government: Click here
  • New Zealand: Citizens of New Zealand require comprehensive private travel insurance. More information about health and travel in Russia can be found on the travel advice website of the New Zealand government: Click here
  • Ireland: Comprehensive private travel insurance is required for Russia. More information about health and travel in Russia can be found on the travel advice website of the government of Ireland: Click here
  • South Africa: Citizens of South African require comprehensive private travel insurance for Russia. For more information about health and travel: Click here
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