There are two primary types of health insurance in Russia: the compulsory insurance known as OMC, and privately purchased medical insurance, or DMC. OMC is provided by the state and is provided free to Russians, but many vital treatments and procedures are not covered by the compulsory plan. In addition, OMC applies only to treatments at a specific hospital; if a person covered only by OMC become ill while travelling, even within Russia, he or she will not be covered by OMC, and will have to pay in full for medical services, except in emergency cases that require calling an ambulance.
For this reason, people from abroad, including international students, are encouraged to purchase private health insurance in Russia. International students should consider purchasing medical insurance in Russia that covers both medical care in Russia, and medical evacuation back to their home country. It is generally wise to check to make sure your insurance policy covers medical evacuations before your stay in Russia, as medical evacuations are very expensive. In some cases, however, they are the only option, as the quality of Russian medical care varies throughout the country. Most patients from abroad pay for medical services in cash and receive reimbursement from their insurance company upon their arrival back home.
All insurance companies, whether private or state-owned, sell health insurance in Russia to individuals, whether they are Russian citizens or not. In spite of this, private health insurance in Russia is not yet commonly held by individuals; it is mostly bought by large companies in order to insure their employees. This medical insurance in Russia covers medical care in a large number of cities and includes both inpatient and outpatient treatments, doctor’s fees, diagnostics, drugs, and transportation by ambulance, as well as various other costs.
The price of private health insurance in Russia varies from 10,000 to 45,000 rubles per year, depending on the number of medical establishments and services included in the plan. In the event of a medical emergency or accident, a patient covered by health insurance in Russia should call his or her insurance provider, and an operator will advise him or her on the necessary medical procedures. Even private medical insurance in Russia has exceptions, however; for example, no insurance policy available in Russia will cover pre-existing conditions or terminal illnesses.
Because of this, many people choose to use their free OMC policies to cover basic medical services, and find a doctor with whom they can develop a personal agreement in times of real emergency, so they can pay this doctor directly, thereby saving money and ensuring that they receive the proper care.
Some countries, such as Britain, have reciprocal health care agreements with Russia. This means that because Britain’s health insurance is valid in Russian, British nationals do not need health insurance in Russia. It is still recommended, however, that foreign nationals travelling in Russia, including international students, to purchase private health insurance that will cover treatment in Russia before entering the country.