01 November 2023
A Torquay GP is welcoming the Federal Government’s $3.5 million bulk-billing incentive boost that kicks off from November 1, 2023.
The change will apply to more than 11 million Australian children, concession cardholders, and pensioners, whose GPs will now receive a $20.65 bonus if they work in the city and $39.65 bonus in the nation’s most rural areas if they bulk-bill.
Federal Member for Corangamite, Libby Coker MP, celebrated the reform alongside Banksia Medical Centre owner and award-winning GP Bernard Shiu, who said the reforms would offer greater healthcare access across the growing region of the Surf Coast.
“We welcome this gesture – it shows that the Government understands how hard it has been for GP’s,” Dr Shiu said.
“Overall, I am glad the Government has tripled incentives for some members of the population,” he said.
Ms Coker added that the changes to the bulk-billing incentive will ensure her electorate’s most vulnerable community members are offered cost-of-living relief.
“Imagine going to your local GP, taking the bill after your consult, and realising you don’t have the means to drop by the supermarket on the way home for food – that’s the reality for many of our most vulnerable Australians – we are working to change this,” Ms Coker said.
“Part of that work includes tripling the bulk-billing incentive to strengthen Medicare so that our nation’s most vulnerable can access the healthcare they need and deserve.”
“Of course, this is an important step for our nation’s healthcare system, but we need to keep moving forward to make sure more Australians have access to bulk-billing when they need it.”
The reforms to bulk-billing follow the Albanese Labor Government’s changes to the PBS co-payment which have already seen people across Corangamite save more than $690,000 on prescription medicines since January.
Changes to Bulk-Billing from November 1, 2023.
Bulk billing is when a medical practitioner bills Medicare directly for their patient’s medical or allied health service.
In a bulk billing arrangement, both of the following apply:
- the medical practitioner accepts the Medicare benefit as full payment for the service
- the patient assigns their right to a Medicare benefit to the medical practitioner, so Medicare pays the benefit to the medical practitioner.
Bulk billing incentive payments are available under the MBS to medical practitioners that bulk bill:
- children under 16 years of age
- patients with a Commonwealth concession card.
Medicare pays the bulk billing incentive as well as the patient benefit.
The bulk billing incentive payments are scaled and increase for patients who live in regional, rural and remote communities, as determined using the Modified Monash Model location classification.