The GP bulk billing rate has risen by 2.1 percentage points in the first two months since the Albanese Government tripled the bulk billing incentive.
The landmark Budget initiative is a key part of the Government’s $6.1 billion Strengthening Medicare reforms and is the largest investment in bulk billing in Medicare’s 40-year history.
The increase in the bulk billing rate means Australians had an estimated 360,000 additional trips to the GP bulk billed since the tripled incentive began on 1 November.
Bulk billing had been falling after a decade of cuts and neglect to Medicare by the former Government that began when Peter Dutton froze Medicare rebates as Health Minister.
Thanks to the Albanese Government, bulk billing has now stabilised and begun to rise again, enabling GPs to bulk bill more patients who need care the most.
Families with children under 16, pensioners and other concession cardholders are finding it easier to see a bulk billing doctor than they have for decades.
The increase in bulk billing is across all states and territories, with GP clinics around the country making the shift back to bulk billing.
Rural and regional Australians have benefited the most with an estimated additional 202,000 free visits to the GP in just two months.
The extra free visits are benefitting both people’s health and their hip pockets.
Nationally, Australians saved an estimated $15 million in GP gap fees in November and December, helping to ease the cost-of-living pressures on household budgets.
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 GP bulk billing rate measures the proportion of all GP visits and services under Medicare that involved no patient payment.
As at 1 February 2024.