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Health Insurance for Expats in Russia

Submitted: December 2013

It’s best to come to Russia with private health insurance, at least before you are familiar enough with the local system. It is advisable to get your insurance arrangements in order prior to entering Russia.

A Russian hospital is unlikely to accept your insurance details unless your insurance policy is Russian. Consequently, you should be prepared to pay upfront and apply for reimbursement from your insurer. Upfront payment is not automatically asked though, as some clinics are happy with sending the invoice a few days later.

If you are just in Russia for a short visit, you will need travel insurance to cover you against any accident that may occur during your stay. This is particularly true if you are not from a visa-free country. Health insurance is often a requirement before you can be issued a visa.

International cover

You should check the geographical coverage of your existing insurance policy, if you have any. Let your insurer know that you are moving to Russia, as it might be a requirement before qualifying for coverage.

If you have a foreign policy but you haven’t been sold it as an international insurance cover specifically designed for expats, your policy is unlikely to work in Russia. In that case, you should switch to an international cover. Your insurer is likely to charge you extra for this, but do bear in mind that the very fact of being insured in several countries carries an extra burden as well.

A good international cover would insure you against:

  • medical costs in Russia
  • medical costs in your home country (or another relevant foreign country), and
  • medical evacuation costs (without adequate insurance, these can be well above  $10,000).

 

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