Uruguay Medical Insurance
Sitting on the southern tip of Brazil’s border is the country of Uruguay. Dwarfed by its neighboring nations of Argentina and Brazil, Uruguay has a total area of 176,215 km². At this size Uruguay is sitting as the second smallest sovereign nation, and the third smallest territory in South America. Formally known as the Oriental Republic of Uruguay, it is a country that offers stunning beaches, an active nightlife, and impressive cultural cities. With over 3,308,000 people living there, an estimated 88% of Uruguay’s population is of a European descent.
Originally founded by the Portuguese in 1680, Uruguay’s capital was created by the Spanish towards the beginning of the 18th century. Uruguay than won its independence in 1828 but didn’t become the constitutional republic it is today until 1984, which was when the first elections were held. As of 2010 the country has grown to have a high GDP of 48.43 billion US dollars, and became Latin America’s highest country in quality of life development. It was also the first country in South America to legalize same-sex civil unions at a national level, and allow gay adoption. Uruguay’s capital is Montevideo.
Uruguay’s strong economic growth through the last decade has allowed its health care sector to flourish. The Uruguay health care system is run through two types of systems, public and private. The public sector is administrated by the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) through the State Health Services Administration (ASSE) and several other related agencies, such as the Police Department and Military Forces. The ASSE provides close to 34% of the Uruguayan people with coverage while related agencies serve around 7% of the population.
The public medical facilities are available to all Uruguay’s residents and health coverage is freely given for specific medical care: emergency ambulance service, initial treatment and medication is free of change. If any other types of medical treatment or ongoing treatment require citizens to pay a fee, which is determined by the level of treatment they require.
The Private sector is made up primarily of private and non-profit medical facilities which are known as “Mutualistas” and “Cooperativas”. Private facilities will expect a person to pay by means of insurance coverage or out-of-pocket payments. The private sector offers an alternative to the conventional health insurance scheme. Private hospitals present health coverage plans which, dependant on the hospital and amount of coverage, normally covers medication and medical procedures within that hospital. All private hospitals have an age-limit for their schemes, which is usually 65 to 70 years old, and require a medical exam for enrollment. Hospitals have accepted people of an older age when they passed the examination. Some of the better private hospitals are Hospital Británico, Hospital Italiano, Sanatorio Mautone, and Hospital Espanol. There are over 48 of these Cooperativas/ Mutualistas that supplies health care to about 47% of the Uruguayan population, which is generally paid for through private health insurance plans.
In Montevideo an expatriate or tourist can receive care at either the public Hospital de Clínicas or the private Hospital Británico. You will need to provide proof of funds or a valid insurance policy before treatment. It is highly recommended that a person or family traveling to Uruguay obtain an international health insurance plan to help cover charges from any type of medical care.
Uruguay has a strong and professional public health care system that has allowed a majority of Uruguayans to live healthy lives. There is still an increasing issue regarding HIV/AIDS within the country. While 2009 estimates show that the diseases prevalence is around 0.5% of the population, which is relatively low, there was an increase in women carrying the infection. Infection through blood transfusion was practically non-existent. Uruguay health industry blood banks are free of HIV.
Dengue fever is also seen within Uruguay’s borders, with the first case in 20 March 2007. The authorities launched an operation to fight mosquito populations to avoid the spread of the disease. Visitors and expatriates should take necessary precautions to protect themselves and lower the chance of being bitten by an infected mosquito. Consult with your international health insurance provider about recommended vaccinations before entering the country.
Though Uruguay is considered one of the safest countries in South America, street crime is still present. Expatriates and Tourists should be aware of their surroundings and vigilant when travelling city streets, especially those in Uruguay’s capital Montevideo. A larger proportion of the crime within cities involves petty crimes such as pick-pocketing and handbag snatching. While Mugging and robberies do happen, the police patrols have been increased in Montevideo’s port and old town regions to help reduce crime. Uruguay’s crime issues have also seen a rise in a type of abduction called “express kidnappings”. Express kidnappings are opportunistic abduction that is short term with the purpose of extracting cash from that person. Victims are usually chosen at random and are detained while the suspects drain their bank accounts through their debit and credit cards. Once money has been collected or a ransom has been paid victims are released. It is important to understand that there is a low chance of such crimes occurring. Uruguay is still one of the safest countries in South America, even when considering the small amount of street crime that is present.
Pacific Prime insurances is a health insurance brokerage, and can offer a number of medical and travel insurance policies, with optional benefit packages including dental, outpatient, inpatient, maternity, specialist consultations and many more. If you are interested in finding out more information about traveling to Uruguay, or to receive free International Health Insurance Quote, then contact one of our dedicated advisors today.