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Bulk billing for medical services

When you access medical services, you can be bulk billed or given a patient account for those services. Bulk billing is when your doctor bills Medicare directly and accepts the Medicare benefit as full payment for their service. This means you do not have any out-of-pocket expenses.

A patient account is when your doctor charges you a fee and you claim the appropriate portion of the schedule fee back through Medicare. The difference between the total account and your Medicare refund is called a 'gap payment' . If you need to see a doctor, you can ask if they bulk bill, and if they don't you can ask about the expected gap payment.

More information on bulk billing and patient accounts can be found at www.humanservices.gov.au.

You can claim your Medicare benefit in a number of ways such as:

  • at your doctor's office
  • through Medicare Online Services
  • at your local Department of Human Services (DHS) Centre.

These options are explained at www.humanservices.gov.au.

It is important to note that from 1 July 2012, Medicare Service Centres started going cashless, and benefits will be paid straight into your bank account.

There are other services that come under the Medicare umbrella such as the Australian Childhood Immunisation Register and the Australian Organ Donor Register. A list of all Medicare services can be viewed at: www.humanservices.gov.au.

For all Medicare general enquiries phone 132 011 (24hrs a day, 7 days a week). For further contact information go to www.humanservices.gov.au/customer/contact-us/.

Sources: Australian Taxation Office (Guide to Medicare levy), Department of Human Services (Medicare service changes, Contact us, Medicare website, Medicare Card)

Last reviewed: September 2015

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