Information on the Healthcare System for Expatriates Living in Ukraine
Ukraine can boast of being Europe’s second-largest country, and after decades of political turmoil during the last century. It has emerged as a popular destination for expats from across the globe. This is a country blessed with immense natural beauty and rich cultural heritage. This country is located in the south-eastern part of the continent.
UPDATE: Note that Ukraine has unfortunately been viciously attached by Russia and large parts of the country are either under attack or occupied. The information noted below is still relevant, but healthcare for expatriates and locals alike in Ukraine is under severe stress. We hope that hostilities there will end soon.
Ukraine is also home to some amazing sightseeing hotspots including the Carpathian Mountains – the ‘Green Pearl’ of Ukraine. Note that the Crimea is currently under the control of Russia and their Separatist allies have taken over a port of the Eastern part of the country – these two areas are no-go zones for expats.
You may decide to stay in some of the most beautiful cities of Ukraine like Yalta, Lviv, and Kyiv, depending on your budget and lifestyle. No matter what your dream destination is, healthcare should be an important factor while deciding to relocate to a foreign land for an extended stay. Opting for a Ukrainian city that has easy access to modern healthcare facilities would be the best bet.
Healthcare Options for Expats in Ukraine
In theory, the constitution of Ukraine guarantees free healthcare to all citizens and registered residents. However, at present, the limited public funding for healthcare means patients can obtain only basic medical services for free. They will have to pay from their pocket for medical expenses and a majority of healthcare services. To improve the funding process, various measures have been introduced in recent years. However, the desired changes in infrastructure are yet to be seen.
Ideally, expats and travellers should purchase an international health insurance plan before moving to Ukraine because the public medical care facilities here may not be adequate for international citizens as compared to those in other Western European or North American countries. For non-critical care, the public healthcare facilities in Ukraine may suffice, but their standards are not very high. Additionally, you may have to pay upfront for various medical supplies and services. Private healthcare, on the other hand, is very expensive, and medical evacuation may become a necessity if you are staying in a rural area and fall seriously ill. So, make sure that your health insurance policy also covers emergency evacuation expenses.
Overview of Healthcare in Ukraine
The public healthcare system in Ukraine is inherited from the Soviet era. The maximum focus was given to the capacity factor under this system, which resulted in the increased number of hospitals and doctors, but the standards are far from good in most medical facilities. Low life expectancy among Ukrainians proves that the public healthcare system leaves a lot to be desired. Fortunately, private healthcare is available for those who can afford it and its standards are commendable.
As noted above – the healthcare in Ukraine is under severe strain and expatriates who are still residing in Ukraine may have difficulties obtaining medical care.
The low wage for state-employed doctors is the prime reason why health surgeons, doctors, and medical professionals are getting tempted to join the private sector and get into the burgeoning medical tourism industry where facilities and pay packages are excellent. The private dental care and cosmetic surgery industries in the country are as good as those in the other developed European nations, but the costs are much lower. As an expat, you can take advantage of the rapidly growing medical tourism sector and get treated in top-notch healthcare facilities in major hubs like the capital Kyiv.
How the Ukrainian Healthcare System Works for Expats
The Ukrainian healthcare system can be enjoyed by expatriates for free, but the quality of healthcare in this country is much lower as compared to that in the Western countries. However, Kyiv’s public medical care is much better than that of other Ukrainian cities. Communication can be a major issue if you are seeking public healthcare as the doctors and medical staff don’t speak any foreign language including English. Expats in Ukraine usually prefer to go for private healthcare by purchasing a private health insurance plan. Some of the best private medical facilities include the American Medical Center, Medikom, and the Oxford Medical Clinic, and they have staff who can speak in English or other foreign languages. Many expats prefer treatments in neighbouring European countries if they face very serious health issues.
Pharmacies in Ukraine for Expatriates
Chemist shops in Ukraine are called apteka and prescriptions (prypysannia) are not mandatory while purchasing medicines. Unlike in Western countries, the sale of medications is not tightly monitored in this part of the world. Drug prices can be very high in some Ukrainian pharmacies, mainly because they are not closely monitored by the administration. Ukraine is home to innumerable pharmacies that are open 24 hours, especially those in the major cities.
Emergency Medical Care in Ukraine
Foreigners or expats can easily get medical emergency services if they have an emergency insurance policy. The public medical emergency care system is run by the state administration, but a few major cities in the country do have private clinics that provide ambulance facilities to patients. Emergency numbers are: Fire – 101, Police – 102, Ambulance – 103.
Best Private International Medical Insurance for Expats in Ukraine
As per Ukrainian law, expats must have a medical insurance policy while residing in the country. This law is also applicable for people traveling to Ukraine for education, vacation, and all other purposes. Expats can get assistance from several insurance experts to complete various official procedures that are related to obtaining a health insurance policy in the nation. There is a huge difference between the rural and urban areas in terms of quality and accessibility of healthcare. So, opting for an international health insurance plan that also covers medical evacuation is always advisable.
If you have decided to move to Ukraine as an expat, you can also contact the experts at Expat Financial and get the required guidance related to international health insurance. Go for comprehensive global medical coverage that covers your loved ones as well. You can choose an international health plan from Cigna Global that assists even if you are traveling to another country for work or business. Expatriates can also purchase a plan offered by Allianz Care and enjoy a hassle-free and memorable stay in Ukraine.
Note that coverage for Ukraine may not be available for expatriates who want to move there because of the war that is occurring there. Contact us to discuss your requirements.