Top Choice If You Have Health Concerns

“This country is the ideal choice for anyone struggling with medical issues, especially chronic ailments,” writes Uruguay Correspondent Sol Maria Klug.

“I have insulin-dependent diabetes. In my research for an overseas retirement haven, therefore, my top priority was clear. I needed excellent and affordable health care.

“That’s why I was delighted to discover that Uruguay offers both world-class medical care and outstanding health coverage benefits, despite my pre-existing condition.

“It’s not only the high quality and the low cost of care that makes this country so attractive to anyone with an ongoing health concern. It’s also the quality of the food, the quality of living generally, the relaxed, stress-free way of life…

“Bottom line, though, someone in my position, with an ongoing health issue, has to be most concerned about the cost of health care. No matter how healthy you live, you can’t predict what medical care you might require someday.

“Here in Uruguay, I discovered that I was eligible for full health care coverage at one of the finest medical care systems anywhere, again, despite my pre-existing condition.

“The Semm Mautone, located minutes from my home in Punte Del Este, offered me total coverage, not the basic service, but membership in their VIP level of care. All doctor and specialist visits, emergency room service, dieticians, ambulance transport, lab work, X-rays, nursing care, physician house calls, and private room hospital stays, with an extra bed and meals for visiting family members…all of this, with no co-pays, plus prescription drugs for a flat fee of US$4 per prescription…for less then US$100 a month.

“Keep in mind that I am not a citizen of Uruguay. That was not a restriction to taking advantage of this insurance program.

“The representative personalized the service by driving to my home to explain the benefits and to take my application. Three days later, I was accepted, and benefits became effective immediately.

“My coverage extends to the world-recognized British Hospital in Montevideo.

“Unable to cook for yourself? Master Foods, an affiliate of Semm Mautone, will deliver home-cooked food to your door daily, for US$5 a meal, even if you have special diet needs.

“I’m not over-stating things when I say that living here in Uruguay has been like a miracle with regards to my long battle with diabetes.”

Kathleen Peddicord

P.S. To clarify: This program through Semm Mautone in Punta del Este is great health coverage in Uruguay. It is not, though, international health insurance. As Sol Maria explains, it provides top-notch health care for you while you’re in Uruguay, at both Semm Mautone and the British Hospital in Montevideo, but it would not cover you at all outside the country…or even at other hospitals in Uruguay.

This is why we say health insurance and health care is such a personal issue. Sol Maria has found an option that makes great sense for her and that is providing her with the coverage she wants at a truly bargain price.

The real problem with international health coverage is that the options are so many. It can be hard to make sense of them. We’re preparing a new special report called “The Expatriate’s Guide To International Health Insurance” to walk you through the best available choices. It will be available to you starting next month. Watch this space.


“My wife and I will close on an apartment in Panama in May 2009. We are interested in any guidance you can provide us on furnishing the apartment locally.”

— Johnny and Doris R., United States

The good news, dear readers, is that, no matter what your taste and style, you’ll find furnishings to suit in Panama City.

I like antiques. Best source is Natalia’s, in Marbella, Calle 5, down the street from the Four Points Sheraton, e-mail:

Natalia’s inventory is renewed regularly and features antiques from both Europe and the Americas. Prices are not super cheap, but reasonable for what you’re buying. I bought a pair of massive, 300-year-old wooden window frames, with their original shutters and iron work, taken out of an old colonial building in Cartagena, Colombia, for US$900 apiece and a painted Ventian armoire for US$1,100.

Best place for traditional reproductions is Metropolitan Furniture in Bella Vista, Calle 48, e-mail: Again, not cheap, but a wide selection of well-done reproductions in the Old World-style.

Also good for imported reproductions: Addison House, in Obarrio, Calle 57, e-mail:…and BBK, also in Obarrio.

If your taste runs to the Far East: Banyan Leaf, in Marbella, Calle 49, e-mail:

For more contemporary furniture (particularly sofas): EuroStudio, Calle 50 and Calle Uruguay, e-mail:

For more affordable but still interesting furniture, plus the best selection of accessories, mirrors, small, fill-in pieces, as well as linens and kitchen and bath items: Conway Design in MultiCentro mall.

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