Healthcare in Uruguay

 

 

Uruguay is considered as one of the most prosperous countries in Latin America. It was the only country in the region that did not experience a recession during the global financial crisis. Here, locals and expats are provided access to the national healthcare system, which includes a network of free clinics.

Picturesque sceneries are not the only reason why many foreign nationals fall in love with Uruguay. This nation also boasts affordable and world-class healthcare services that no expat in search of a better life can resist. In fact, this dwarf-sized nation which is the third smallest in South America has a strong and efficient public and private healthcare sectors that helps its people live healthy lives. Public healthcare in Uruguay is delivered by the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) through the State Health Services Administration or ASSE. Other related agencies such as the Military Forces and the Police Department are also related with the Uruguayan public healthcare.

Healthcare Coverage

Expats are required a two-year residency to avail Uruguay’s social benefits. Social insurance in the country covers employed and self-employed individuals, including rural and domestic workers. The premiums are financed by the insured (15% of gross monthly earnings or 24,709 pesos or less) and his employer (7.5% of covered payroll).

The government contributes as an employer and funds pension deficits and non-contributory benefits. The mixed social insurance and individual account system are also available to employed and self-employed individuals with monthly earnings above 24,709 pesos. Insured individuals are extended benefits that cover old-age, unemployment, permanent and temporary disability, sickness and maternity, and worker's medical needs and work-related injuries. In Uruguay, workers’ medical benefits are available through mutual health institutions that assistance for:

  • Surgery
  • Prescription medicines
  • Eyeglasses
  • Contact lenses
  • Prosthesis
  • Orthopaedic appliances
  • Wheelchairs
  • Psychiatric hospitalisation

Doctors and Emergency Numbers

A majority of the hospital personnel such as doctors and nurses in Uruguay are highly trained, but expats should expect that Spanish is still their primary language. However, there’s no need to worry because a majority of the major medical facilities in this country have interpreters that can help break down the language barrier. Many senior physicians in this country trained from one of the two local medical schools but some also trained in other countries such as Brazil, Germany and the United States.

In the case of an emergency situation in Uruguay, contact the following numbers:

  • Medical emergency: 105
  • Fire department: 104
  • Police: 911

Mutualista Hospitals

Though Uruguay has a quite reliable national health insurance, many locals and expats still opt for a Mutualista, the most common medical care choice in this country. Newcomers should bear in mind that a Mutualista is not similar to health insurance because it has no lifetime cap, no deductible and no difficult terms to understand. Basically, with Mutualista, there is no middle man between the member and the private hospital. Hospital Mutualista set their pre-existing and age condition guidelines for accepting or declining an application. Once an expat becomes a Mutualista member, he becomes a directly connected to the hospital, thus having access to all his scheduled healthcare needs. Two of the top Mutualista hospitals in Uruguay that are recommended for expats are:

Tel: 1920 7000

Av. 8 de Octubre 2492, 11600 Montevideo

+598 2487 0525

Aside from the Mutualista, expats can also check out the Hospital Britanico, a gold standard in the field of Uruguayan healthcare that offers another type of coverage called the ‘Hospital Scheme’. Take note that the hospital scheme can be double the monthly price of the Mutualista because it is considered as a premium-service plan.

 

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