Medicare – Continuation of Bulk-billing Incentives for GPs in Areas of Workforce Shortage and Lower than Average Bulk-billing Rates

The Government is providing additional funding of $41.6 million to continue bulk-billing incentives for doctors treating patients with Commonwealth Concession Cards and children under 16, particularly in areas of medical workforce shortage.

Page last updated: 09 May 2006

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Why is this important?

  • This initiative will continue to improve access to bulk-billed GP services in eligible areas of doctor shortage with lower bulk-billing rates. Since the introduction of higher incentives, GPs in eligible metropolitan areas have increased bulk billing by almost 8 percentage points. This represents an additional 8.7 million bulk-billed consultations per year, with the higher incentive (currently $7.85) paid to around 5,000 GPs.

Who will benefit?

  • This initiative will benefit people with Commonwealth Concession Cards and children under 16 living in eligible metropolitan areas who will continue to have improved access to bulk-billed GP services. Around 1.6 million patients per year are expected to benefit from this initiative.

What funding is the Government committing to this initiative?

  • The Government has committed continued funding of $41.6 million over the next two years to continue higher bulk-billing incentives in eligible metropolitan areas. This is a demand-driven programme, and additional funding will be appropriated as required.

What have we done in the past?

  • The Government first introduced incentives for bulk-billing Commonwealth Concession Card holders and children under 16 in February 2004. Higher bulk-billing incentives in eligible metropolitan areas became available from September 2004.

When will the initiative conclude?

  • This initiative will be reviewed in the 2008-09 Budget.

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