An Overview of Uruguay’s Health Care System
If health care is a concern for you, you can be assured that Uruguay has good quality health care facilities, both public and private, throughout the country. The public health care system is said to operate to a good standard, however many expats opt to pay for a medical coverage scheme at one of the many high-standard private hospitals.
Uruguay’s public health care system
Uruguay’s health service is available to all it’s residents and provides free public hospital service throughout the country. A free emergency ambulance service is available under the system, and initial treatment and medication is free of charge, however, ongoing treatment will incur a fee, which is calculated depending on its level.
As an alternative to traditional medical insurance, private hospitals each offer a medical coverage scheme which, depending on the hosital and level or coverage offered, typically covers treatment and medication within that hospital, and often visits to pre-appointed GPs outside of the hospital. All private hospitals have an age-limit for their scheme, which is usually 65 to 70 years, and require a medical examination. Occasionally a hospital will take an older person who has passed the exam.
Hospital Britanico, beside the Tres Cruces bus terminal just outside the Montevideo’s city centre is regarded as the best hospital in the country. The doctors here are English-speaking and highly-trained. For elderly clients they charge a one-time fee for entering the system, then an ongoing monthly fee.
Current medical scheme rates for Hospital Britanico are as follows (prices are in Uruguayan pesos; currently 100 pesos equals 4.2 USD):
From 18 to 29 years – private room $1,586; premium $1,890
From 30 to 39 years – private room $1,882; premium $2,244
From 40 to 49 years – private room $2,048; premium $2,446
From 50 to 55 years – private room $2,705; premium $3,237
From 56 to 60 years – private room $2,898; premium $3,459
With the doctors prescription you are entitled to a 50% rebate at the Farmacia “El Tunel” (across the street from the Hospital). They also make home deliveries.
- Hospital Britanico, Av. Italia 2420, Montevideo, Uruguay; tel. (598-2)487-1020; fax (598-2)487-4080; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; website: www.hospitalbritanico.org.uy/english/index.htm. (From their website, click on the “The British Hospital Scheme” link for more on their medical coverage scheme.)
Other highly-recommended hospitals include the following:
- Hospital Italiano, Boulevard Artigas 1632, Montevideo; tel. (598-2)47-97-17; fax: (598-2)47-40-80.
- Sanatorio Mautone, Avda. Roosevelt y Camacho, Punta del Este, Maldonado 20100; tel. (598-42)28-558/25-353; fax: (598-42)31-243.
- Hospital Español, Avda. Garibaldi, 1729, Entre Rocha y Pando, Montevideo; tel. (598-2)203-58-21.
You’ll find pharmacies (in Uruguay farmacia or quimica) scattered throughout the country, and often in supermarkets. Pharmacists are highly-trained and extremely helpful.
A high percentage of drugs are available without prescription, and they are made to a good quality. Most drugs for sale in the U.S. and Europe are available here, but if you’re not sure, it may be advisable to carry them with you from home.
CDC, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that before traveling to Uruguay, you ensure you are up-to-date with routine shots such as measles/mumps/rubella (MMR), diphtheria/pertussis/tetanus (DPT), and poliovirus.
The Hepatitus A vaccination is also recommended, along with Typhoid (especially if you plan on visiting smaller cities, villages, or rural areas where exposure might occur through food or water). A rabies vaccination is recommended where travelers are expected to come into direct contact with bats, carnivores, and other mammals.
General Emergencies – 911
Ambulance – 105
Police – 109
Fire – 104