Health Insurance and Health Care Experiences

Our next update on Health Insurance in Uruguay will be a bit delayed. In part due to an unplanned need to get some health care personally! I promised you that update and analysis on the Mexican Public Health Department study of Health Care in Uruguay, and I’ll be doing it. Hopefully within the next 2 weeks.

As to my health care incident: Nothing serious, as long as I don’t try to raise my right arm. Old ski injury. Newer parking lot injury. Recent I-have-no-idea-what re-injury! Our article delay also is in part due to pushing out a new website and author hub for a fascinating memoir of expat life that led from California through Germany, Israel, Cyprus, and eventually to Uruguay. That author, Susan Joyce, is our first client under Lisa’s and my newly rebranded and expanded venture, Southern Cross Web and Social Marketing.

Cross made of interwoven colors of the flags of Uruguay (blue / white) and Spain (red / yellow)The other day, I did stroll into our mutualista, Asociacón Española, paid all of UYU $218 (pesos, about U$S 11.75 US dollars at our current crummy exchange rate of 18.6:1), and was seen in 5 minutes by a doctor. That 218 peso was the “ticket charge” for an urgent care visit; think of it like your co-pay for a doctor (or other primary care practitioner like a Nurse-Practitioner or Physician’s Assistant) visit back in my home country of the USA. Those of you from “walk in it’s free” countries may laugh now. But not too loudly; it was under 12 bucks. And was in 5 minutes. A non-urgent but purpose-specific visit (sick, full checkup, etc.) would have been 169 pesos. My visit a week earlier for medication renewals was free.

Later this week, co-owner of Uruguay Expat Life & Uruguay For Me, Lisa Marie Mercer, has to go get her free mammogram at Española’s central radiography department in Montevideo. 58 pesos for the “timbre” – official government stamp – the only charge, even if you are not in a mutualista. (Ooh, “socialized heath care, the horrors!) I get to visit their radiografia departamento too, in two weeks for my shoulder X-ray, followed immediately by an appointment with their shoulder-specialist orthopedist. I expect that will provide grist for a “Physical Therapy In Uruguay” post. Or as we call PT’s back in Ski Country USA, “Physical Terrorists” (Thank you, Karen my PT in Frisco Colorado USA, if you’re reading… my left shoulder is fine thanks to you, and that’s the one I broke and dislocated in one totally stupid ski injury! Oh, and you can buy books online from her great indie bookstore!)

Serendipitously, our tales of those visits, along with a possible guest post from a friend whose son just had a motorcycle tumble (he’s ok), will kick off our new series, on Getting Health Care In Uruguay. Which is not exactly the same issue as getting health insurance. In fact, to be totally accurate, Lisa, myself, and our friend, do not have heath insurance at all. Instead, we are members of a health cooperative society. More coming soon about that here on Uruguay Expat Life!

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Mark Mercer

Site co-owner Mark Mercer. AKA Marcos Cristoforo Mercer, AKA the Fuzzy Wanderer. Expat from USA living in Uruguay as of mid-2012, after "test-driving" it for a few months in 2011 and early 2012. Married to Lisamaria, AKA well-known travel and fitness writer Lisa Marie Mercer. Follow Mark on Twitter @mcmxs and his many other sites, which you can find at I write and engage about many of my other interests, on Google+ at

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