Healthcare can be funded by the state or by private wealth, including through voluntary medical insurance (VMI). State guarantees are paid via the budget and a system of compulsory medical insurance (CMI). Opinions differ as to the advantages of one system or the other, and every country must decide on its own solution. In Russia, CMI replaced the budgetary model more than 25 years ago. The money collected by CMI funds is allocated in accordance with established state law to medical institutions via private insurance companies. They are also responsible for monitoring the quality of healthcare, and for respecting and protecting the rights of the insured. Many experts believe, however, that these functions could be managed independently by CMI funds and the Federal Service for Surveillance in Healthcare (Roszdravnadzor). In other countries, the functions of insurance companies are far broader: they collect contributions and participate in the setting of tariffs, but, most significantly, they also bear the financial risks in the event of increased volumes of healthcare provision. For this reason, they have a direct interest in disease prevention and early detection. What model for financing state guarantees (budgetary or insurance-based) is optimal for Russia and why? What are the features of a fully-fledged CMI model? Who could shoulder the functions of insurance companies in the CMI sector? Could insurance representatives help patients? What are the prospects for voluntary medical and pharmaceutical insurance in the Russian Federation?