Using Your GP to Access Primary Care

Five questions about bulk billing

Patients are often unsure of exactly what’s involved in bulk billing. Politicians often bring it up and medical practices will often advertise if they offer bulk billing, but it can be confusing to have one doctor bulk bill you when another charges a fee which you need to pay on the day.  Below are some of the most common questions people have about bulk billing. So what is bulk billing? Bulk billing is a system where a health professional is directly paid for their services by Medicare. The amount paid will be a set figure dependent on the service or treatment provided to you.  In doing so they chose to not charge a payment separate to that offered by the government.  This means they will be paid less than if they decided to charge you a fee.   Do I have to pay anything if I’m bulk billed? If you have a Medicare card you won’t have to pay anything. You’ll have to sign a form saying you’ve received certain services from your health professional.  A bulk billed service is free at the point of care.  This means you pay nothing for receiving it, however, we all contribute to the system via our taxes. Can I be bulk billed for any medical or allied health appointment? No, only certain services attract a payment from Medicare which allows a doctor or allied health professional to offer bulk billing. The Medicare Benefits Schedule details exactly what these services are and describes any criteria that must be met. Your health professional will take care of this, however, it may mean they need to discuss certain things in your appointment or complete specific paperwork with you. Completing these not only helps them manage your health concerns as best they can, but it also enables them to be compensated for their services and continue bulk billing their patients. Do doctors have to bulk bill? No, doctors and allied health professionals are under no obligation to bulk bill for any service.  Some bulk bill every patient, others don’t bulk bill anyone and some bulk bill according to clinic policies or the individual situation of their patient.  If you are unsure or need further information about what your health professional does it’s best to discuss it with practice staff prior to your appointment. What if I’m not bulk billed? If you aren’t bulk billed for a service […]