Relocation tips: Healthcare
We sincerely hope that you will not experience any health issues while studying or working in Russia. However, you can never predict how things will go, especially when you are far from home. These tips will help you protect yourself from unexpected issues and make sure that your stay in Russia goes as smooth as possible.
Before you arrive
In order to complete your student application and receive your visa, you must provide several documents to the admissions office of whichever university you are applying to. These documents include:
- a medical certificate with an HIV test (dated less than 6 months ago)
- a medical certificate stating that there are no medical restrictions preventing you from studying abroad
- a vaccination certificate
All foreign citizens must have a valid medical insurance policy on the day of their arrival and for the entire period of their stay in Russia, regardless of the purpose of the visit. You can purchase one upon your arrival, but it is recommended that you purchase an insurance while still at home for the first 2-3 months in Russia in order to secure your travel to Russia. The Russian Embassy in your country may also ask for proof of insurance for the visa application.
Your employer is responsible for applying for state medical insurance in Russia on your behalf, although it is possible to register yourself by visiting a Russian insurance provider with your passport and residence permit.
The minimum amount of insurance for foreign nationals is RUB 100,000. Check your local or international insurance providers for Russia coverage.
The voluntary medical insurance policy covers visits to healthcare institutions in case of general sickness, injuries, trauma or other emergency situations and/or hospitalization to medical centres close to your place of work based on the amount of insurance.
When you arrive
You can buy medical insurance at the airport or any border crossing point for a short period (minimum one week). The cost of insurance starts from 1 USD per the day of your stay and covers help only in case of emergencies, traumas and/or critical health situations. Later, you will still need to buy health insurance for the entire length of your stay in Russia.
Here are some hints for buying medical insurance
- Choose one of the big medical insurance companies from the ranking by the Federal Compulsory Medical Insurance Fund (available only in Russian). The Top-10 includes (but is not limited to): Rosgosstrakh, SOGAZ-MED, AlfaStrahovanie Group, RESO-MED and Ingosstrakh.
- Buy medical insurance at an office of the company you picked. Some retail chains offer medical insurance for a very low price, but if you need any help and call their contact center number you are likely to find no response.
- Note that the basic price of insurance for a year-long stay starts at 1,500 – 2,000 roubles (and covers only emergency situations and severe unexpected disease). Normal price, which covers general sickness, hospital stay and emergency starts from 4,000 roubles per year.
- Every respected insurance company has a rather wide range of insurance plans for any coverage and budget. If you are only suggested one plan and the agent insists on it, it’s time to find another company.
- Check the hotline number of your insurance company. The operator must tell you the name of the insurance company (which must match the one at the company’s office and on your contract) and should be able to speak English or connect you with someone who can.
Comparison of the insurance plans and coverage and hints for choosing one that fits you we’ll write later in our special Relocation tips article.
If you need medical advice
Once you are officially an ITMO University student or employee, you are entitled to use the services of the healthcare clinic located at the main campus of ITMO University - Kronverksky av., 49. Some of the services provided there include first aid, treatment of a variety of acute illnesses, minor injuries and burns, vaccinations and preventive medicine. The doctor there can also refer you to other specialists if necessary.
The clinic is open Monday through Friday from 9am to 3pm. If you are feeling sick and unable to go to class, please visit the doctor before noon to receive a medical note of absence. You can also call the hotline of your insurance company, describe the problem and ask for advice.
Every September and October you can receive a free vaccination from influenza. These are done near any metro station (look for red-and-white ambulance cars), at the university’s clinic or in any state medical institution. The vaccination is free, but you can’t choose the vaccine. If you require some specific type of vaccine, you need to go to a private clinic.
In case of sickness
If you need help with more general health issues (colds, injuries and other medical problems) you must turn to the national health system or to private clinic listed in the appendix to your contract or in your insurance plan. You should contact your insurance company to approve your visit and they’ll arrange your appointment to the nearest doctor’s office according to your insurance plan.
In case of trauma or accident
In event of trauma or injury, call emergency service 112 (from any phone). An ambulance will arrive to take you to a hospital or a trauma care clinic.
We wish you stay fit and won't need all these tips ever!