More Australians than ever are receiving the medical care they need at no cost to themselves, as recent data shows almost nine out of 10 visits to the GP over the year to December were provided with no out-of-pocket cost.
Federal Member for New England, Barnaby Joyce, said this was another example of the Australian Government’s commitment to Medicare and bulk billing across Australia.
“This is great news for people in my electorate of New England which means they are able to see their GP with most receiving no out of pocket costs,” Mr Joyce said.
“Operational matters at some state-run, rural and regional health facilities still need adjustment but it’s good to see our state government colleagues addressing these issues in real time.
“In the meantime, the Australian Government will continue to fund record bulk billing services for people in the New England and across the country.”
Record GP bulk billing rates reached an all-time high of 89.3 per cent for the year to date to December 2020, compared to 81.9 per cent for the same period in 2012-13.
Across all Medicare services, which includes visits to specialists, the bulk billing rate reached 81.3 per cent, an increase of 4.8 percentage points since 2012-13.
In total, Medicare services increased to 440.3 million with total benefits paid reaching $25.9 billion.
By the end of December, Medicare had paid benefits for 3.3 million COVID-19 video consultations and 41 million COVID-19 phone consultations provided by GPs, specialists and allied health professionals.
Minister for Health and Aged Care, Greg Hunt, said the Government’s rapid and effective response to the COVID-19 pandemic is reflected in these record-breaking figures.
“We made temporary changes to include telehealth items through Medicare, ensuring Australians can continue to seek medical care while reducing the risk of spreading the disease in the community,” Minister Hunt said.
“Our Government’s commitment to Medicare and bulk billing remains rock solid. These figures show that we are supporting the health and wellbeing of Australians more than ever before.”