How the Medical system works in Russia

The Russian healthcare insurance system has existed since the communist era (under Stalin) and has been the subject of many reforms. When it was first created, it provided free healthcare access to almost the entire Russian population. Since the 1990s, one portion of the public healthcare system has been funded by the government and the other by the regions, who are responsible for the regional healthcare centers.

Free access to healthcare is still available for certain types of medical care (as defined by the government), such as infectious diseases and accident-related care. The regions can decide to provide free access to additional types of medical care, funded directly by them.

As the public system does not provide sufficient coverage, it is now obligatory to have private as well as public insurance. However, this mandatory private insurance, which is partly funded by employer and employee contributions, only covers a basic medical care package as defined by the government too. To get access to well-equipped facilities, quality care and a wide range of medical services, we strongly recommend you take out international private insurance.


Visiting a doctor in Russia

There are no self-employed doctors in Russia. Russian doctors receive patients in hospitals or public clinics and by appointment only. There are fairly long waiting times in public facilities. If you need to see a doctor urgently, you should go to a private clinic. It may be much more expensive, but the service will be far better.

Being admitted to hospital in Russia

Public hospitals do not have enough resources. They are ill-equipped, understaffed and appropriate medication is often unavailable.

Private hospitals in large cities like Moscow or Saint Petersburg provide much better equipment, qualified staff and quality care.

In case of emergency: dial 103


Buying medication in Russia

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

Source: US Department of State, Qatar Ministry of Public Health, International Trade Administration, Wikipedia