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Discover how the system works in Russia

The Russian healthcare insurance system has existed since the communist era (under Stalin) and has been the subject of many reforms. When it was first created, it provided free healthcare access to almost the entire Russian population. Since the 1990s, one portion of the public healthcare system has been funded by the government and the other by the regions, who are responsible for the regional healthcare centers. 
Free access to healthcare is still available for certain types of medical care (as defined by the government), such as infectious diseases and accident-related care. The regions can decide to provide free access to additional types of medical care, funded directly by them. 

As the public system does not provide sufficient coverage, it is now obligatory to have private as well as public insurance.  However, this mandatory private insurance, which is partly funded by employer and employee contributions, only covers a basic medical care package as defined by the government too
To get access to well-equipped facilities, quality care and a wide range of medical services, we strongly recommend you take out international private insurance.

Visiting a doctor in Russia

Russian doctors
There are no self-employed doctors in Russia. Russian doctors receive patients in hospitals or public clinics and by appointment only. There are fairly long waiting times in public facilities. If you need to see a doctor urgently, you should go to a private clinic. It may be much more expensive, but the service will be far better.  

Being admitted to hospital in Russia

Public hospitals do not have enough resources. They are ill-equipped, understaffed and appropriate medication is often unavailable. 

Private hospitals in large cities like Moscow or Saint Petersburg provide much better equipment, qualified staff and quality care.

In case of emergency : dial 103

Buying medication in Russia

Important: there are a lot of counterfeit drugs in Russia. We recommend that you check the reliability of the pharmacy (аптека) where you intend to buy your medication.

WHV Russia

WHV Russia

Essential Information

Duration:  4 months and the possibility to prolong it up to 1 year with a professional contract. 
Cost: Free 
Leadtime: 1 month after application

Application Requirements

To apply for a visa in Russia, you have to:            
-  Have a French nationality                                                
-  Be aged 18 -30 inclusive
-  Be without dependents
-  Have a valid passport 
-  Have proof of adequate savings
-  Have a clean criminal record 
-  Have a medical certificate proving that you're in good health  
-  Have international health insurance to cover the length of your stay 
-  Have never had a working holiday visa for Russia before (1st participation)
-  Be in your home country when you apply for the visa

How to get your Visa

If you're a French national applying in French:
The first step to getting a visa for Russia is to gather together all the documents required: passport, bank statements, criminal record extract, medical certificate, insurance certificate for the Russian embassy. 

Please note that your medical certificate has to show negative results for HIV, leprosy (Hansenn illness), tuberculosis, syphilis, chlamydia, cancroid and also drug addiction. Your medical certificate has to include an identity photo, your full name, your sex, date of birth, home address, telephone number and a copy of your passport.

Stay Covered

The best health insurance solution for your working holiday abroad is Start'Expat - our ready-to go package for international coverage from 1 to 12 months.

Get your health insurance for Russia

MSH can help you design the best international health insurance plan to suit your needs.

Going for less than a year?  
We have the right health insurance plan to cover you for 1 to 12 months, whether it's for a personal project, an apprenticeship, a working holiday or any other reason.

Going for a year or more?
Explore our comprehensive and highly flexible health insurance solutions to protect you and your family while you're abroad.



Russian Federation


Saint Petersburg, Novosibirsk, Yekaterinburg




Federal semi-presidential constitutional republic


Russian, English


Russia on Wikipedia


Client story: I woke up to MSH

Rachel lives in Togo and has been with MSH since 2002. After routine surgery, she fell into a coma that lasted 2 months. Her hospitalization cost more than 200,000 euros - but it was all covered by MSH, without her having to get involved. Thanks to the reactivity of the team and their smooth handling of the situation, Rachel's family were able to avoid any extra stress - as was Rachel when she woke up.  
Client story: MSH was a lifesaver

Matthieu was hiking in a canyon in Peru when he accidently fell down several meters and fractured his kneecap and elbow: "After 12 days in a local hospital, I was sent back to  France where I spent 2 more weeks in hospital and months in physiotherapy" he remembers. Matthieu's hospitalization, repatriation and rehabilitation expenses were all covered by MSH: "Without my private health insurance, it would have been a nightmare: €16,000 for the hospital and €50,000 for my repatriation with two air ambulances - can you imagine?"
Client story: my second opinion

Petra was very worried about the surgery she'd been prescribed following an accident at home. Before making her decision, she wanted a second opinion. Thanks to her private health insurance, which included the Second Medical Opinion guarantee, she quickly saw another doctor and got all the answers to her questions. The second doctor agreed that surgery was necessary and Petra went to hospital feeling reassured and confident.
Client story: The right decision

Bill and his family are based in Brazil. Unhappy with his previous insurer, Bill switched to MSH in December 2015: "One of the best decisions I've made since I've been here", he says, "for the level of service and the breadth and quality of the network."  Bill's insurance card is now recognized by the biggest and best hospitals in Sao Paulo. He even gets third-party payment for simple hospital tests without needing prior agreement: "MSH makes life easy", says Bill. 
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