Health Insurance Coverage for Expats in Russia
Technically, all foreign citizens are required to have health insurance in Russia. This regulation is not currently strictly enforced. However, it is highly advisable to have some form of health insurance. At private western-standard clinics, prices for health care services can be as high as in other western countries like the United States. All foreigners should also make sure their insurance includes medical evacuation, so that, in a very serious emergency, they can return to their home country.
Russian citizens are guaranteed free access to healthcare by Article 41 of the Russian constitution. Public healthcare is funded in part directly by the government, and in part through the OMS mandatory medical insurance, the premiums for which take the shape of a 2.8% paycheck withholding.
All foreign citizens holding residency permits (vid na zhitelstvo) have the same right to free public healthcare as Russian citizens. For foreigners considered temporary residents, such as those with work permits or on business visas, the access to public health care depends on reciprocity agreements between Russia and the home country. For example, British citizens do have the right to an OMS policy, while U.S. citizens do not. You should confirm your status with your consulate in Moscow.
If you have the right to it, the OMS policy is issued at your place of work. Policies for spouses and children can be requested through your district’s designated medical insurance policy issue point. Your employer can tell you where this is.
The OMS policy gives you access to free service at public clinics, including public ambulatory services. However, service here is often far below western standards, and English-speaking doctors are typically not available. You may also have to pay extra for individual items such as single-use needles and medications. OMS does not provide dental or vision care, and only limited psychological or psychiatric care (which, if you need it, you most definitely don’t want to get from a public hospital).
Many companies offer alternate insurance policies, and most expatriates prefer to obtain coverage that can be used at private clinics, whether or not they have access to OMS. Insurance can be obtained through an employer, or by purchasing a separate policy.
Except for OMS at public clinics, acceptance of insurance in lieu of pre-payment is rare. The common practice is to pre-pay for a service and then be reimbursed by your insurance company. Some private clinics partner with specific insurance providers, however, and you may be able to purchase insurance that is accepted if you choose a clinic before choosing an insurance company.
If your employer provides you with a supplemental health insurance policy, it will typically be restricted to a particular clinic. This may be a public or private clinic, but is only in rare cases one of the English-speaking private clinics.
If you purchase your own policy, expect to pay at minimum $700 annually per individual for a basic policy by a Russian insurer that can be used at public clinics; or starting from $2000 annually per individual for a policy from an insurer for a western-standard, English-speaking private clinic.
Of course, prices vary substantially based on the level of coverage. Note also that extra charges will likely apply for insurance valid outside of Moscow.
Leading foreign health insurers that provide policies valid in Russia include:
- GEO BLUE
Leading Russian health insurers include:
http://www.ingos.ru/en/contacts/moscow/ for a list of all Moscow offices, in English, with phone numbers
- Reso Garantiya
+7 (495) 730 30 00
+7 (495) 926 55 55
+7 (495) 232 33 33