Everyone in Uruguay is entitled to quality medical care via the national health care system… and this includes foreign residents. There are no restrictions on this system, and we’ve even known nonresident visitors who’ve used it.
If you’d prefer the extra services that the private system offers, you can also join one of the many higher-end private hospital associations. The cost for these is reasonable, plus you’ll have fewer people waiting and more-pleasant conditions.
Remember that your options for initial signup in private health plans will be fewer after you reach age 60, and will diminish further as you pass 65 and 70. Most plans require a physical, at any age, but many will accept pre-existing conditions. A private plan at La Asistencial (in Maldonado) costs US$57 per month. The best plan they offer is the VIP plan for US$154 monthly, for which you get a private room, a special waiting salon, guaranteed appointments, and lower co-pays. At La Asistencial there are no age restrictions, and your premium is not based on age. You might also find some willing to accept foreign health plans including Blue Cross.
If you just walk into the emergency room for treatment in a private hospital (without a plan), you’ll spend around US$85, which will include doctor fees and lab work.
Many Uruguayans and expats believe that the British Hospital is the best medical facility in Uruguay; it’s located about 30 miles (48 km) from Atlántida. For your sole provider—where you’d go for serious illness or major surgery—I’d consider British Hospital. Outside of this facility, you can have trouble finding English-speaking medical professionals. Smaller medical clinics, emergency centers, and ambulance services do exist in the Costs de Oro area but they are less sophisticated. Have a look at Médica Uruguaya, which offers good coverage. SAPP has four facilities on the Costa de Oro in Parque del Plata, La Floresta, Salinas, and Atlántida, and Centro Clínico del Este has a facility in Villa Argentina.
For the region, life expectancy is high and infant mortality is low; and the ratio of doctors and beds to population is exceptionally good.