Bulk billing rates on the rise
THE Albanese Government is touting the success of its changes to the bulk billing system, saying the data reflected rural and regional Victorians were experiencing some of the largest improvements across Australia.
Last October, before the incentive was tripled on November 1, 72.3 per cent of all GP visits were bulk billed across the state’s rural and regional electorates, but this had increased to 77.0 per cent by December.
This increase in the bulk billing rate is equivalent to an estimated 60,000 additional trips to the GP.
In Corangamite, which covers much of the Geelong region outside central Geelong, the figure was even higher, with a 7.1 percentage point increase in the bulk billing rate, from 65.7 per cent in October to 72.8 per cent in December.
About 10,000 additional trips to the GP were bulk billed in Corangamite in November and December, saving locals an estimated $400,000 in gap fees.
“Our community members on the Bellarine, Surf Coast, and across Golden Plains and the greater Geelong region have been some of the biggest winners from the Albanese Government’s investment in bulk billing,” Corangamite federal member Libby Coker said.
“This is delivering significant cost of living relief for people in our community.”
The bulk billing incentive is paid on top of the standard Medicare benefit when doctors bulk bill children under 16, pensioners and other Commonwealth concession card holders.
The other nine federal electorates included in the analysis were Wannon, Ballarat, Bendigo, Casey, Corangamite, Flinders, Gippsland, Indi, Mallee and Nicholls.
“Doctors’ groups have called our tripling of the bulk billing incentive a ‘game changer’ – and clearly it is,” Health Minister Mark Butler said.
“The Albanese Government committed to making it easier for people to see a bulk billing doctor, and the first two months of data show that is exactly what is happening right around the country, and particularly in rural and regional Australia.”