In principle, public healthcare is free for all Russian citizens. However, there may be large differences between public and private healthcare services and the methods of treatment may vary.
Private hospitals in St Petersburg and Moscow are of a high standard and the staff speak English. For the most part, the personnel are highly trained even on the public side, but the units commonly suffer from a lack of resources. Queue times may also be long in public healthcare and the treatment conditions may fall below Western standards.
Private hospitals operating in Moscow include the American Medical Center and the European Medical Center. In St Petersburg, high-quality treatment is available from the International Clinic MEDEM, the Euromed Clinic and the American Medical Clinic, among others. On these clinics, the personnel speak English and often represent multiple nationalities.
Everyone is entitled to first aid in case of emergency, but the treatment must be paid after it has been completed.
Persons who apply for a Russian visa must have health insurance that corresponds to the requirements set for foreign nationals temporarily staying in the Russian Federation. Before travelling to Russia, you should contact your insurance company to request contact information for those private hospitals that your insurance company has a contract with.
The contract hospitals will invoice the insurance company directly. These hospitals and health stations usually have pharmacies where you can collect your medicines. Other hospitals usually require payment in advance with a credit card or in cash.
Dental care is usually expensive and needs to be paid before the treatment. Dentists are well trained and treatment is available on the private and public sectors. Dentists in the private sector rarely speak English. If you require urgent medical care and choose a place of treatment from the public sector, you should take with you a person who speaks Russian so that they can act as interpreter.
There are several pharmacies in all cities. Large hospitals also have their own pharmacies. Moreover, nearly all of the large supermarkets have a pharmacy kiosk. Some of the pharmacies are open 24 hours a day. Please note, however, that the pharmacy personnel do not necessarily speak English.
Many medicines that require a prescription in Finland are freely available in Russia. However, some require a prescription from a local doctor (such as anti-depressants and several analgesics).
Sources: Centre for International Mobility CIMO, Maailmalle.net, Finnish Embassy in Moscow, VFS Global, U.S. Department of State: A service of the Bureau of Consular Affairs