There are no private doctors in Russia and you must make an appointment. The 2 major types of health institutions are policlinics and hospitals. Most universities have an on-site clinic (poliklinika) on campus. Those who do not will have a partnership with a nearby hospital or clinic.
Russian insurance will cover most of your expenses in policlinics. However, as a foreigner, you can get better treatment in private clinics. These require an additional payment. Some take credit cards while others take cash up front.
Becoming ill in Moscow is not the terrible experience it once was. While there are still long lines in most government hospitals, there is usually someone who can communicate in English as well as an acceptable level of care. If you are concerned about wait, language barrier, or anything else to due with service, a private hospital can be visited where some of these issues are resolved.
However, since 1991 there have been no significant improvements to the Russian healthcare system. Its biggest problem has been severe lack of funding. This problem is being addressed with recent government reforms, such as an increase in funding and measures to increase efficiency, but problems persist.
Water quality varies widely in Russia. To make sure you avoid illness, drink and brush your teeth with bottled water. Ice, raw foods, and vegetables may contain bacteria your body is not used to.
During the summers, some Russian cities are overrun by pukh. This cotton-like substance from poplar trees can badly irritate those with allergies. Cities are now getting rid of many but nonetheless, it can still look like a snowstorm in July.
forum.expat.ru/askthedoctor.php is a handy tool in which to ask other expats about ailments, preferred doctors, and other health related questions.
With so much to deal with before leaving your home country, (taxes, moving house, paperwork etc.) the careful planning of your expatriation to Moscow is an essential step. As far as healthcare is concerned, your local social security scheme won’t be accompanying you to your host country and, once abroad, you might be surprised by the care system you find in Russia. So, before leaving, make sure you have appropriate cover!
EasyExpat.com works in partnership with APRIL International to provide specific insurance solutions for travelling or staying outside your country of nationality.
Designed for either short or long stays, APRIL International’s insurance policies offer protection against any problems that might arise before departure or during your time in Russia: cancelling your trip, medical expenses following an illness or accident, needing to be repatriated, causing damage to a third party or losing your luggage.
For more information on expat health insurance in Russia, visit our partner APRIL International