In Russia, healthcare is provided by the state and by private companies. You need a health insurance policy in order to be treated at state hospitals and health centres, including student clinics. Private clinics admit patients without insurance as long as they cover their own expenses.
Only first aid and emergency medical care is available to foreign citizens in Russia free of charge.
First aid in case of emergency (accidents, injuries, intoxication and other) is rendered by police officers, military officers, fire and rescue service workers and other appropriately trained individuals.
Emergency medical care
Emergency medical care in cases of immediate threat to life and health (accidents, injuries, intoxication and other) is provided by officers of public healthcare institutions (doctors stabilise the patient’s condition and further treatment is possible only with a valid policy or payment of expenses).
All other types of medical services are rendered on a fee-paying basis. To receive these services, international students must obtain insurance covering routine treatment including check-ups, tests, prescriptions and specialist consultations.
VOLUNTARY HEALTH INSURANCE POLICY
International students typically come to Russia for quite a long period (from one term to 4-5 years) which is why an ordinary travel health insurance policy from their country of origin is unsuitable. This type of insurance policy is not valid in the majority of Russian hospitals and under such a policy the patient often has to pay for the treatment themselves and apply for a refund from the insurance company only once they have returned home. This is very inconvenient for students who are studying abroad.
Upon arrival in Russia you need to purchase a voluntary health insurance (VHI) policy, which covers the minimum of medical services required by Russian law (including out-patient and in-patient care, hospitalisation and transportation) and is accepted at clinics and hospitals located near the place of your studies or residence. In this case, you will not be required to pay to see a doctor as it would be sufficient to present your student ID card (or passport) and your policy.
Before your departure for Russia, contact your university representatives and find out whether they provide assistance in obtaining a VHI policy. This is usually arranged by the international student offices. They will help you to arrange and obtain insurance from a partner company of university at a lower rate. You can also obtain a VHI policy independently from any Russian insurer, but it will be quicker and less expensive to arrange it through the university.
According to the Russian law effective since 2016, foreigners have been required to take out health insurance immediately upon arrival in Russia. When taking out private health insurance remember that the minimal price for foreign citizens increased to 100,000 roubles (1,660 US dollars) from 1 May 2016.
How much does a VHI policy cost?
The cost of a VHI policy depends on the region, range of services (out-patient care, doctor call-out, emergency dental care, etc.) and the term of validity (from 3 months to 1 year).
In 2017 Russian insurance companies offered Moscow students VHI policies for between 3,000 and 12,000 roubles (50-210 US dollars).
What documents are required to arrange a VHI policy?
Usually a passport and a migration card are required. In some cases a referral from the dean's office may be required. For further information please contact your chosen university’s international office or insurance companies.