Countries with the Best Health Care for UCers

Meet Youness:

30 year old Moroccan guy, been diagnosed for over two years now .. on remission for the last two months thanks to a very unconventional thing.

Some more about me:

I lived in the US for 6 years before coming back to my home country


on remission .. but used to have all the symptoms cocktail

Health Care for Ulcerative Colitis

Hello again , I already posted about how I think Alcohol helped me get into remission , a remission that I have OH SO enjoyed for the last 02 months , finally got back to all the things I used to love ..

What I really want to ask my fellow UCers is how did your condition fare in your respective countries’ health care system .. obviously the meds and treatments are not cheap .. so I am very curious as to which countries have the best health care system ..

I for one , am so happy I left the USA before I got diagnosed .. I can only imagine being there , probably losing my job because of the condition ( as it happened to many of us) and then finding yourself in a situation where you are unemployed and have no health insurance to pay for the meds and doctors bills ..

Now I live in a third world country ( Morocco) , my health insurance covers 90% of the bills , and even unemployed I am covered for at least 60% .. we don’t get the best state of the art treatments obviously , but not like it matters in our condition ..

We all know and have realized that stress is of the utmost importance in getting Ulcerative Colitis and falling into flares all over again .. it is a very vicious cycle , being sick , being unable to perform in our jobs as we did before with the lack of energy and motivation , losing a job , having no money to sustain ones self , finding it hard to afford meds etc .. I assume anyone who is in that situation is basically in some kind of quick sand of nightmarish proportions .. no way out !

This Forum , thanks to Adam , I see attracts people from all over the world , and I am very interested to know which countries have the best health care system related to our specific illness ?

Colitis medications I’m using:

pentasa 1g/day ,
Aloe Vera gel ( althought I ran out)

written by Youness

submitted in the colitis venting area

20 thoughts on “Countries with the Best Health Care for UCers”

  1. I live in a small town 1 hour north of London. It is far to say my GP clinic is pretty much in disarray. I have not really used them until being diagnosed last year. But I see mistakes and performance that is frustrating and disappointing. I guess these walk in clinics are a bit like other high street shops, they will try and sell you what they want – they want you to use there services than others (if that makes sense). My main hospital is a mix bag, my soon to retire GI is a moddly so and so but another taking over the department is a really top guy. I think this is what it all comes down to, how caring are the people around you. When I almost got driven off a cliff egde in Argentina whist mountain biking I didnt get to a hospital until I arrive in Peru on Xmas Eve. I was seen there and than and the nurse was so caring and for a remote location in the outback of Western Peru, the facilities and service was top draw. Likewise when I drowned in Miami around 3 years ago, I was apparently saved in A&E (I was out of it so couldn’t recall) and than the caring/service from doctors and services was exceptional hands down. It wasn’t just about me, they supported my family in caring for them as they dealt with the ordeal. I think countries have a level of set rules to aid in performance, but in my experience it always comes back down to the people there to help you with your health.

      1. Cost of meds are fairly cheap. I remember speaking to Bev about this and we established that the same med (asacol) we took cost totally different. Far cheaper in the UK than in US. But she pays alot less for the probotics she takes. I take them same and it cost alot more than hers.
        Interesting. I wonder, what is the true value of something!!!

  2. I am from Canada and have had very good (and free) care since being diagnosed in late November. It took some time to get referred to a specialist (they tried for 3 weeks to treat it as a virus among other things) but once i did i was in for a sigmoid endoscopy within a week or 2 and had a second full endoscopy 6 weeks later. I am now scheduled for an CT scan on my abdomen for Feb. 25. I was surprised they would need a CT scan. Is that normal?

    1. Hey Graham, I’ve had quite a few CT Scans on my UC journey. They can use them to see the inflammation in your colon and intestines without doing the colonoscopy. Like if I am flaring and they don’t want to make the flare worse by doing a colonoscopy, they will do a CT Scan to look inside and see where the inflammation is at. Much easier than some of these other tests we have to go through too, except that you have to drink the nasty barium solution and get dye injected which sucks! :)

      1. Kimberly,

        really?! My German doc just laughed at me when I asked when a CT scan would replace the colonoscopy, saying that will take a long time until technology is that far.
        That uneducated bastard ;)

        In which country did you do those scans, if I may ask?


        1. Hey! Well I am in Hawaii and have also had them done in California! Ct Scans are a quick way for doctors to look in there and see what is going on, especially in that past when I had ER visits due to my UC, they would do CT Scans there to see my colon and stuff, and they could tell where the inflammation was, which helps them determine which treatments to use. I’m guessing it is only helpful if you are having a flare and have pretty good inflammation going on in there. I mean a colonoscopy really shouldn’t be done if we are flaring bad right? The stupid prep alone would kill us! Your doctor seems to not know what he is talking about? I have had more CT Scans for UC than colonoscopies! I only get colonoscopies when I am no longer in a flare and they want to go in and take biopsies and see if there is any more ulcers or minor inflammations in there.

  3. Hi Youness,

    First off, in the US (since 2009) IBD (inflammatory bowel disease) patients (patients with Crohn’s and UC) are protected under the ADA Act and their employers must provide reasonable accommodations. This also is true for the parents of children with IBD. This includes leave due to flares, doctors appointments, and hospitalizations.

    Secondly, I am glad to have been diagnosed in the US and treated here. I have had to be on remicade for 8 years for UC and it’s the only thing that works. My insurance pays for each treatment and its around $3000 each treatment. I was in England for 4 months and used their private health care and learned about their public health care (England is a dual system). Since I wasn’t a citizen or resident (just a student visa) I had to use their private hospitals. I was treated all King Edward’s in London it was a fantastic facility and treatments with remicade still came in around $3000 (I paid out of pocket and then my insurance reimbursed me). That price was even including a meal and a private hospital room. Here in the US infusions are done in clinics with a group of recliners. So if you can afford the private insurance in England its great. HOWEVER, Remicade is NOT APPROVED for the treatment of UC if you are on the public health insurance because it’s not “COST EFFECTIVE”. Which is a load of crap. If I lived in England I COULD NOT GET REMICADE unless I paid for it all by myself. Since when did someone else have the right to tell me what drug I was or was not allowed who’s not my doctor?

    And Remicade is a great drug, unlike many inflammatory drug treatments, Remicade blocks your immune system from attacking the colon. It treats the problem, not the symptoms.

    You just have to look around at the health care systems.

    Hope that helps!


  4. Angela, Remicade is accessible on the NHS but it’s a “postcode lottery” meaning you can get it if you live in an area where teh PCT (primary care trust) has approved it.
    I’m in Canada and the care has been fine. I think if I had good insurance in the US it would be better as I could ask for the tests I want where as here the Drs are more like gate keepers. I had to fight for a small bowel follow through for example. But, then I also think there’s an argument to be made against over testing (and billing) and I think some MDs might just be guilty of this in the US.
    Regardless, I sure do appreciate our health care system. With all of the stress this disease brings, medical bills is not on my radar. And I’m seen at an IBD center of excellence with top researchers and clinicians. As far as allopathic medicine is concerned, it’s a good place to be treated.

  5. Hi Shelly,

    Thanks for clarifying that! When I had researched if it was available in England that’s how it made it sound. This was a couple of years ago, so hopefully things are changing now. :) Not having the bills like you do in Canada would be nice, I’m still on my parents’ insurance as I’m in grad school and haven’t aged out of the system but I only have a year left before I can’t use theirs and it’s a scary thought of how I’m going to handle the bills, especially since I have an architecture degree in this horrible economy (no one’s building….). But luckily in the US now they’ve gotten rid of pre-existing conditions! Hopefully, it stays.


    1. Angela, Yes I think it’s quite unclear. As for the new “Obamacare” stuff, the legislation on pre existing conditions is huge. I just can not believe that people could not get health insurance because they were sick and so destined to a life of poverty/bankruptcy? That is absolutely unjust. Anyway, I hope you find a job and get great insurance. At least it’s covered for now right?

  6. Another great post Youness!

    You have a wonderful health care system in Morooco. Here in Canada, we also enjoy free health care, however, if we don’t have insurance through our jobs, we have to pay for prescitions. With insurance, we normally only have to pay 20% of the precsription cost, with our employer paying the other 80%. Not too bad! All medical procedures are free, so that’s fabulous…like colonoscopies, etc…

    If someone here in Canada is unemployed, or homeless, or just broke, then healthcare kicks in again, to cover all of it.


  7. Anastasios John Jr.

    Youness my man. If you think alcohol is your answer well then have a drink for all us uc sufferers . lol no don’t do that, maybe just a drink.

    I am from Canada, and yes the health care system is pretty damn good. It does make things a little bit harder when you are unemployed (like myself) don’t have any coverage, and have to pay for remicade or simpani infusions. not cheap at all. But in terms of getting all the tests, x-rays, scans, blood work, and scopes Canada is like I said, pretty damn good.

  8. Dear Youness,

    Thanks for posting this! I have been curious about this for awhile, as I am an EFL/ESL Teacher (English as a Foreign/Second Language). I have lived in Spain and now in Korea with UC, and I am looking for my next job, but having to think about the healthcare makes it much more complicated, I would have never thought that being insured, and even uninsured, in Morocco could be so great!

    Spain – When I lived in Spain, I had private health insurance (as I was on a student visa). The colonoscopy was free, as were all my doctor appointments. However, all the medicines I had to pay for out of pocket, insurance paid none of it. I was paying around 100 Euros a month for steroid enemas and my maintenance drug (which I now cannot remember the name of).

    USA – I spent a few months back home while in between jobs, thankfully I was still under 25 at the time so I was under my parents’ insurance. I was on steroids and the same maintenance drug, paying about 100 dollars a month.

    South Korea – UC is labelled as a “rare disease,” so my health insurance pays 90% of the cost, this includes doctor’s visits and medicine. I am prescribed pentasa, azathioprine, and a probiotic for my doctor which altogether cost about 30 US Dollars a month. In addition to this, I spent 8 days in the hospital for a bad flare a few months ago, and it cost only 500 US Dollars. I was shocked at how cheap it was!!

    Thanks for starting this post! I hope other people continue to comment, for selfish reasons of course so I can get some insight in where to go next! :)

    Thank you Youness and Adam!

  9. I thank God I live in England. I’ve travelled the whole world, visiting many countries including many times the USA and have unfortunately been ill in a few but although I can’t fault the care I received in any, I had to pay through the nose and the time taken to be seen, sometimes took forever. I can’t imagine what it can be like to have to pay for care and medication for this awful condition, the cost without insurance would be beyond the means of most ordinary people. People knock the NHS, but I thank god for it and count my blessings I live in a country where they put care for their people above profit.

  10. Hello Youness,
    I am currently living in Germany and I am satisfied with the insurance system here. You are always insured even when you are unemployed (in that case, the state pays for the insurance). Regarding the UC treatment, the insurances pay for treatments that are “listed”. So basically, there is a list on which you can find all medications and treatments that are scientifical proved to be efficient for UC. If the medication you want to try is on this list, it will be paid. If not, you have to pay on your own. Unfortunately, many herbal remedies are not on this list because no long-term studies have been carried out to prove their efficiency. But the known treatments and medications are paid without asking ;)

  11. Sweden – We have the health care paid for at all times by the state (we also pay a shitload of tax). You need to pay each year a maximum of a few 100 euros for medicine and doctors and then the rest is paid by the state. You pay a small amount when submitted to hospitals but never for the medication provided there, the tests or surgery. This applies for people who permanently live here and you don’t need to be citizen to get the healthcare, but I am sure about the details for people who come here for shorter time periods are. This aspect of the healthcare over here is great.

    Then I would say that the treatments are not sufficient and the level is not that high to treat UC… But that I believe is a problem all over the western world. I am one of those who chose to go with SCD and other treatments. And no, supplements are usually only covered by the insurance if they are sold by the pharmacy and the supplements from the pharmacy are not that high quality…

    In short: Here in Sweden you don’t really need to worry about the money and the emergency care is really good. But curing UC is not something they will know anything about (in my humble opinion).

  12. Gidday mate,

    I’m in New Zealand. All my treatment has been courtesy of the government (that’s why we pay taxes):

    Gastro clinic appointments (UC Specialist)
    Blood transfusions
    Iron infusions
    Bone density scans
    Medicines: e.g. Pentasa, Azathioprine, Methotrexate, vitamins, Losec, iron etc.

    This is because I am regarded as a “high user” and the Govt subsidises the cost. I pay to visit my GP outside of the public system.

    We have private medical insurance for our family though I haven’t really used it in the case of my UC. I think it is about $30 per month and covers Specialists and Surgery. It seems where I am the top doctors working in UC are in the public system anyway. Should I require surgery there would be no charge for this either.

    I believe non New Zealand residents would face charges.

    Hope this helps,

  13. Hi Youness,

    It’s definitely not Ireland! If you don’t have private health insurance it cost €55 for each visit to the doctor or hospital and you have to pay the first €140 per month for medicines. Special foods or health supplements are not included. When I first got UC I had quite a bit of rectal bleeding and had to go to A&E – I had to wait 14 hours to see a doctor! At a later date, I questioned my doctor about the link to smoking and he dismissed it. He referred me to a dietician who had never heard of the SCD diet and said it sounded useless and dangerous! It’s a good place to come on holiday just don’t come here looking for any medical help!!


  14. Hello all!
    We are the lucky ones, in france everything linked to UC (as well as a list of other rare illnesses) is 100% in charge of the state. I don’t even pay my specialist and all medicines are also taken in charge. I actually don’t need themt anymore as i am on specific carbohdrate diet since july 2012. It works quite well even if i am now sure i should have an allergic test on all food to know more precisely what i should eat or not. I am now sure we all have individual reactions to each kind of food.

    NO sugar power!!!

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