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View Full Version : Help! Cheapest Expat Medical Insurance??



Courtney
25-08-2008, 00:23
[B]Hi Everyone,

I'm brand new to this forum. I would post in the Introductions first, but I'm in a HUGE hurry.

My Russian visa expires on September 1, and I am only now finding out that the Russian visa laws changed (back in October 2007), and that now I can only get a 3-month visa, then have to stay out of Russia for 3 months before re-entering!

Man, I am in utter shock. I'm a historian - a very poverty-stricken one - doing archival research for my second book, and I have rented an apartment for 2 years. Now I have to uproot myself totally. I'm going to reapply for a 3-month visa, and then leave Russia for good in early January 2009.

Well, to get to the point, I also discovered - according to the Russian consulate in Lvov, Ukraine, where I plan to go - I must also show proof of medical insurance for the three months I'm in Russia. I never had to do this before (only have the VICh-sertifikat).

I am disgustingly healthy:) I don't smoke, and I eat my veggies, take vitamins, and run every day. I never even got one simple head cold this past winter in Cheliabinsk. It's a damn shame to waste money! Sure, I could get hit by a crazy driver, but it's statistically unlikely because most of the time I'm in archives or working at home.

Well, would any of you seasoned expats PLEASE answer my questions?? I have to make a decision quickly:

1) What is the cheapest medical insurance for expats (I'm American)?

2) Is there such a thing as a Russian insurance firm issuing medical insurance for an American?

3) Or, must I buy an insurance policy through a Western firm?

4) Does the Russian embassy or consulate insist on the ORIGINAL PAPER
COPY of the medical insurance certificate? In other words, do I also
have to pay for an expensive DHL mailing to me from the USA or elsewhere?

Please share your experience and let me know ASAP. Spasibo bol'shoe!!

Awaiting your wisdom,

Courtney

Andy B
25-08-2008, 05:20
Hi Courtney,

I can help with Medical Insurance. Can you PM me your date of birth and a contact email and I will send you some info and a quote.

I take it you just require enough cover for the visa, and you are not actually looking for comprehensive medical insurance? If so, I would suggest taking the highest excess (this is this first part of any claim that you pay yourself) on the minimum level of cover, to keep things as cheap as possile.

If you actually want good quality medical insurace then let me know.

Cheers,

Andy

tgma
25-08-2008, 12:48
If you just want medical insurance for the sake of the visa, check with the consulate what they will accept. There was a time in the UK, when the consulate would accept a cheap travel insurance (from the Post Office), as proof of insurance, cost about 70 pounds. This was of course lousy medical insurance, because it probably wouldn't cover you if you were living in Russia quasi-permanently. But it was enough, back then, to get a 1-year multi-entry visa.

This insurance seems not to be required any more (the agency asked for it, but it apparently wasn't necessary), but this varies between consulates. I have no doubt that AndyB will direct you towards an excellent policy from the point of view of actually paying for medical services, but it may not be what the consulate wants - could be more, could be less. So check carefully.

Again, this is not a comment on AndyB or anyone else's medical insurance, just on the capricious nature of Russian consulates, and their interpretation of the rules.

Courtney
25-08-2008, 13:01
Thanks. I just called the consulate again and they said even a Russian or Ukrainian insurance policy would do.

I just have no idea whom to contact.

Hopefully AndyB can help. I just wrote to him:11158:

Courtney

Andy B
25-08-2008, 13:18
Courtney, just replied :)

Bels
25-08-2008, 13:52
If you just want medical insurance for the sake of the visa, check with the consulate what they will accept. There was a time in the UK, when the consulate would accept a cheap travel insurance (from the Post Office), as proof of insurance, cost about 70 pounds. This was of course lousy medical insurance, because it probably wouldn't cover you if you were living in Russia quasi-permanently. But it was enough, back then, to get a 1-year multi-entry visa.

This insurance seems not to be required any more (the agency asked for it, but it apparently wasn't necessary), but this varies between consulates. I have no doubt that AndyB will direct you towards an excellent policy from the point of view of actually paying for medical services, but it may not be what the consulate wants - could be more, could be less. So check carefully.

Again, this is not a comment on AndyB or anyone else's medical insurance, just on the capricious nature of Russian consulates, and their interpretation of the rules.

If you are British you don't need medical insurance for visa to Russia. Both countries have a national health agreement.

Quote from Russian Embassy London:



HEALTH
A Reciprocal Health Care Agreement is in operation between the UK and Russia. This entitles UK citizens to free emergency treatment in a Russian hospital. However, it is advisable that travellers take out full insurance cover for medical treatment and accidents.

Russian Consulate (http://rusemblon.org/logon_en.htm)

Andy B
25-08-2008, 14:01
Bells, Courtney stated (quite clearly) that she is American, but thanks for your input.

Bels
25-08-2008, 14:27
I know :) , but I was referring to my above quote from TGMA. He stated he needed a medical insurance as a Brit in London.

And hopefull there will be others of other nationalities reading this thread.

alterego
25-08-2008, 14:30
Bells, Courtney stated (quite clearly) that she is American, but thanks for your input.
He doesn't read what he writes himself, so why would you expect him to read what someone else wrote.

I'm American and I have never been asked to show proof of insurance. I just got another American a visa in Switzerland and no insurance was asked for.

Bels
25-08-2008, 15:01
I'm only trying to help, as there might be Brits reading this thread thinking they need medical insurance. And perhaps spending a small fortune for an insurance they do not have to have.

tgma
26-08-2008, 12:26
The insurance thing is spotty - I was asked for it on my visa run a couple of years ago, but not this year. I use a pretty good visa service in London, who seem to be on good terms with the consulate - the year before last they were definite that the consulate needed the insurance, but this year they told me to get it anyway, although I got the impression it wasn't needed in the end. I'm a UK citizen, and have also been told in the past that I didn't need insurance because of the reciprocal health arrangements, but there was this one year when I was told I needed the insurance. I'm pretty sure it wasn't the agency trying to make money out of it, because they directed me to buy at the nearest Post Office.

It was the same with the HIV certificate - they said to bring it just in case, but it wasn't needed in the end. I think the consulate itself gets confused over the varying requirements for longer term visas.

Anyway, in this case, it sounds like you can get away with buying something cheap, maybe even Ukrainian travel insurance. Of course, AndyB's product will have the added advantage of actually covering you for medical expenses, probably at a good clinic, whereas things wouldn't be so easy with a local policy.

cupcake
26-08-2008, 12:45
Buy travel insurance. If you have to do 90 days in and then out then you can get an annual policy which has max trip lengths of that duration, you can get them online and then print off your policy doc yourself. Get it from a US supplier and then the repatriation cover will work to take you back to the US.

Otherwise contact a Russian insurer such as Renaissance Insurance and get either a local health policy or a local travel policy. Medical insurance locally depends on the clinic and program chosen, so ask for the cheapest of all quotes.

I have only ever been asked for the policy number and name of insurer, never to show proof of insurance.

You could always buy it, use the policy doc for visa issuance and then cancel it during the "free look" period..... [I'm in insurance myself, don't let my colleagues know I suggested this!!].

Do you have a travel policy with your credit card too? That is always worth looking into and you should be able to get the policy doc offline or a confirmation of cover emailed to you.