Dealing With Medical Emergencies and Conditions

Dealing With Medical Emergencies and Conditions

Bulk Billing: What It Is, Who Can Use It, and How to Find a Bulk-Billing Doctor

by Vernon Foster

Got a cough, a headache or perhaps something more serious? Not to worry! In Australia, there's no need to consider whether or not a visit to the doctor would be worth the strain on your wallet. Here, all Australian permanent residents and citizens are entitled to greatly subsidised health care through the Medicare system, the country's publicly funded universal health care system. Provided that you fit into one of those two categories, then all you have to do is head down to your local Medicare office and sign up. Once you receive your Medicare card and number, you'll be able to utilise bulk billing. 

But what, exactly, is bulk billing? Essentially, health care providers, whether they be individual bulk-billing doctors, clinics, hospitals, etc, can choose to bill the Australian government through the Medicare system at a fixed rate for health care services through bulk billing, in lieu of charging the patient. Yes, that means exactly what it sounds like: if you're bulk billed, you pay nothing, as long as you make sure you're sticking to bulk-billing providers. This is something of a win-win situation for both the industry and the patient, as health care providers receive more business from patients who otherwise might have passed on a doctor's visit, while patients, irrespective of their economic situation, are guaranteed access to essential health care services. Most essential medical services are covered by Medicare, including, most importantly, check-ups with a general practitioner.

Taking advantage of bulk billing is easy; you just need to find a provider. According to the Minister of Health, 85.8 percent of check-ups in Australia are with bulk-billing doctors, so it should be quite easy to find one. Search engines are one of the best places to start, as many bulk-billing doctors advertise that they bulk bill in the name of their practice. A search such as "bulk-billing doctor near me" will usually yield the results you're looking for. Additionally, all health care providers, even those who don't normally offer bulk billing, have the option to offer it at their discretion, so it can never hurt to ask if you could be bulk billed.

When you first visit a provider that offers the option, you'll give them your details, such as your personal information and essential medical information, including your Medicare number. This enables them to bill the government for the service on your behalf. From then on, unless otherwise stated, any medical treatment you receive at that provider will be bulk billed. The system is designed to be easy to use for patients, and in practice, it certainly is. If you're eligible, take advantage!


About Me

Dealing With Medical Emergencies and Conditions

Hello, my name is Peter and I live in Western Australia with my wife on our pet dogs. This is my blog which details how to deal with various medical emergencies and other conditions. Last year, several friends and members of my family suffered from various different kinds of medical problems. Some of them, such as my uncle had to be rushed to the hospital for immediate treatment that saved his life. Lots of my friends had minor problems which had a big impact on the quality of their lives. I take an active interest in first-aid and other medical matters so I decided to start this blog.