Universal healthcare is still something countries across the globe grapple with, and more so, in a context where people don’t understand the options made available to them. When it comes to government initiatives, health or otherwise, it appears that there’s a barrier between them and the people they serve. The manifestation of it, is lack of understanding on the citizen’s part what their rights are. That’s why there’s still lack of widespread knowledge about what bulk billing is and how to access it.
Running under the Commonwealth Government, Medicare is a universal health insurance scheme that came about in 1984 and funded by taxpayers that reach a certain threshold. One would perceive that if something has been around for that long, there would be widespread understanding, especially among young youth, what it is.
Simply explained Medicare accords Australian residents free treatment in public hospitals, and subsidised or free treatment for select dentists, optometrist, and psychologist, among other allied health professionals. Those with chronic illnesses or equally challenging disease can receive rebates from visiting allied health professionals but can only do so a specified number of times annually. However, a general practitioner should have made the referral if it’s to be covered under Medicare, listing the type of care you need and for how long.
Medicare covers consultation fees for both doctors and specialists, the doctor issued test and examinations and a majority of surgical procedures. However, for residents to attain these benefits there’s a catch. The medical practitioner they are going to see ought to be registered with Medicare; otherwise, all costs fall on the patient if they don’t have a private medical cover.
What is bulk-billing?
Bulk billing, plainly stated, is when the doctor accepts your Medicare benefit as full payment. It is usually between 85 and 100 percent of what the Schedule fee is, but either way, the patient doesn’t have to pay the deficiency. The process is simple; you visit a bulk billing doctor, have your Medicare issued card swiped, and with that, you sign a form to show your approval of the same. Once completed, it is Medicare’s responsibility to pay out the agreed-upon percentage of Schedule fee to the medical practitioner.
The reason why bulk-billing isn’t perhaps widely practiced is that there have been few incentives for doctors and other specialists to register with the cover. There has however been a gradual change, with those accepting payment getting extra payment for agreeing to see certain demographics. There aren’t enough, as it is evident from how few practices offer bulk billing with stipulations, if at all.
Why you should choose bulk billing
The apparent reason to reach for bulk-billing is that you don’t have to reach for your pocket during your doctor’s appointment. That in itself means that, as the patient and an Australian resident, you save money. Illnesses bring with them stress and having one less thing to worry about is worth getting Medicare. What it also means is, by extension, your family can get affordable healthcare especially in instances where specialty care for chronic and difficult to manage diseases is present. These advantages have brought with them an increased number of people opting for bulk billing.
Finding a doctor accepting bulk billing
The Internet has made finding doctors who take bulk billing seamless. Using the search engine a person can locate a general practitioner near them that allows bulk billing outside of public hospitals. There are medical sites equally making their willingness to take this payment option known. Most of all, as a patient and when booking an appointment, find out if they accept Medicare’s bulk billing to avoid paying out of pocket.