Affordable cost of living in Uruguay

While expats in Uruguay say living there is not rock-bottom cheap, they also say they wouldn't consider living anywhere else.

Savings are huge, not just on public transportation, but on big-ticket items like health care and health insurance, property taxes and wine (if big-ticket bottles aren't for you, try the local varietal, Tannat.)

If you own your own home or apartment and don't have car-related costs, you can live comfortably in Montevideo on $2,000 a month. One expat couple, living in Montevideo's upscale Pocitos neighborhood, say they spend $3,000 to $4,000 a month and don't deny themselves anything.

Uruguay offers excellent health care

One of the best things about Uruguay is the quality and affordability of health care and health insurance. Everyone is entitled to quality medical care via the national health care system, and this includes foreign residents. But most expats opt for private coverage through a private hospital or mutualista (health cooperative).

Montevideo's British Hospital is one of the country's best hospitals and has strict rules about age and pre-existing conditions. But one expat couple reports that, despite pre-existing conditions, they pay just $1,700 per year for a policy through the British Hospital similar to one that cost $17,000 per year in the U.S.

Local mutualistas in smaller communities can cost even less and are usually not as strict about qualification requirements. Not a single expat we interviewed in Uruguay was unable to obtain coverage, despite pre-existing conditions such as diabetes, heart issues -- even cancer.

A 63-year-old man with high blood pressure, for example, has coverage from a local mutualista for just $70 per month -- and that covers everything from checkups to hospitalization to medications, with a small $6 co-pay for office visits. Andrea Cavallo of CCM Soluciones is a health-care facilitator in Uruguay who specializes in helping expats find the best health-care options.

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