How foreigners can get medical aid in Belarus?
To come to Belarus, foreigners must have a health insurance card. With it, you may get emergency medical care in any Belarusian medical institution.
An insurance contract can be issued both in Belarusian and foreign insurance companies. However, if you issue an insurance contract in a foreign insurance company, you need to make sure that:
- the name of the insurance organization, its address, contact phone numbers are noted;
- your full name is noted;
- conditions apply to the territory of Belarus;
- the agreement is valid for the full period of time you are going to spend in Belarus;
- a stated insurance amount not less than 10 000 euros.
After signing the contract you will be given a certificate of insurance or a card. If they are written in a foreign language they need to be translated to Russian or Belarusian. You should carry it with you in case you decide to turn to a medical institution in Belarus.
Health care delivery for foreigners
There are emergency medical care and elective care services in Belarus.
Emergency medical care is provided if you suddenly fall ill with something and you urgently need medical intervention, which requires emergency medical care. If you have an insurance card first aid will be free for you. If there’s no insurance card or you can’t confirm its availability, then you will have to pay for hospitalization and medical assistance according to the price list for the foreigners.
Elective medical care is everything that doesn’t apply to emergency care. For example, if you just want to undergo a medical examination, or you need a doctor’s appointment for prescribing medicine.
The emergency aid number is 112. An operator almost likely won’t speak English, so try to ask your friends, passers-by, or local people for help or try to use Google translate. Be sure to say your name, age, what’s exactly wrong and where you are at the moment.
After the operator takes your call (in case it is considered grave enough) the emergency will be there at 5 minutes – 1 hour. In Belarus there are 3 grades of urgency and all the calls are aligned according to the grade:
- acute (an accident; a road accident with injuries; a fall from heights; extensive burns; hanging, etc.) waiting time – 5-15 minutes.
- urgent (arrhythmia; heart attack; foreign objects in a body; frostbite; labours; asthma attack, etc.), waiting time – 15-30 minutes.
- emergency (allergies; headache; renal colic; significant changes in blood pressure; acute urinary retention; food poisoning, etc.), waiting time – up to one hour.
The process of providing medical aid
Make sure you have your passport (or an ID card) and the insurance. The team will submit all the data at the number specified at the certificate. The emergency teams don’t typically speak English here, so, once again, be sure you’ll be able to communicate with them somehow.
Then there are two options – you’ll be taken to a hospital or not if your state is back to stable and normal.
If you are staying home – don’t worry, you won’t have to do anything on the insurance for now.
If you are taken to a hospital – you’ll be given a bill only at the discharge. At the very beginning of your treatment you’ll be informed on the prices and the amount just as a reference, the full amount will be known only after you are treated. If your insurance covers all your health problems (most likely it will) – the insurance company will pay your hospital vacations up. In case something is not covered by its scope – you’ll pay for that part on your own. Again, all you need is to give your insurance and ID to hospital staff and they’ll do the rest.
You can also use private clinics. Only in Minsk, there are 150 + multi-profile private clinics and an uncountable number of private dentistries or medical laboratories. Typically, your insurance won’t work there as they are commercial. Anyway, it’s a great solution if you have some extra money (they can be really expensive) and don’t want to get an experience of overcrowded state polyclinics, long queues, and waiting-periods. In order to pick up one of them, like “Lode” or “Nordin”, for instance, check the web or ask your local pals.
Also, all across Belarus, you may find adorable sanatoriums, rehab centres, balnearies, and other nice getaways. Despite such treatment will not be covered by your insurance, it is relatively cheap and effective, and the sanatoriums are mostly located at scenic places with divine nature.