Quarterly Medicare Statistics

The Quarterly Medicare Statistics contains data relating to Medicare from September Quarter 1984 onwards.

Page last updated: 23 February 2017

Quarterly Public Release of Medicare Statistics: 2016-17 Financial Year-to-Date Bulk Billing Rates

More GP attendances and more benefits paid:  In the period July to December 2016, patients accessed 73.5 million GP services, at a cost in Medicare benefits of $3.7 billion. This compares to 72.1 million services in the period July to December 2015 at a cost of $3.6 billion in Medicare benefits. This is an increase of 2.9% in service volumes and an increase in benefits of 4.4% compared to the same period in 2015-16.

More Medicare Services overall: The volume of all Medicare services in July to December 2016 was 192.7 million services, at a cost of $10.9 billion in Medicare benefits. This compares to 191.0 million services in the period July to December 2015, at a cost of $10.5 billion in Medicare benefits. This is an increase of 1.9% in service volumes and an increase in benefits of 3.8% compared to the same period in 2015-16.

Patients are receiving more Medicare services that are fully subsidised: During July to December 2016, patients received 149.8 million bulk billed Medicare services compared to 148.7 million during the same period in 2015. This represents an additional 1.19 million fully subsidised Medicare services compared to the same period last year.

Rate of bulk billing for GP attendances continuing to increase: In the period July to December 2016, the bulk billing rate for GP general attendance services was 85.4%. This is an increase on the same period in 2015, when the bulk billing rate was 84.7% (July to December 2015).

Rate of bulk billing for total Medicare services was 77.8% in the period July to December 2015 and 77.8% in the period July to December 2016.

More in-hospital pathology services at a lower bulk billing rate: In-hospital pathology services grew from 7.4 million services in July to December 2015 to 7.9 million services in July to December 2016.  The bulk billing rate for these services fell from 1.8 % in July to December 2015 to 1.2 % in July to December 2016.

  • In-hospital pathology services provided to private patients that attract a private health insurance benefit are not bulk billed services even if there is no immediate out of pocket cost at point of service.

Bulk billing for out of hospital pathology continues to grow: In the period July to December 2016 out of hospital pathology services had a bulk billing rate of 99.1 % compared to the period July to December 2015 where out of hospital pathology services had a bulk billing rate of 98.9 %.

  • For all pathology services the bulk billing rate for July to December 2016 was 87.2%, down slightly from the July to December 2015 period when the rate was 88.1%

Bulk billing rate for diagnostic imaging remains steady: In the period July to December 2016 diagnostic imaging services had a bulk billing rate of 77.2 % compared to the period July to December  2015where diagnostic imaging services had a bulk billing rate of 77.1%.

Explanatory notes on the data:

  • Medicare services refer to services funded through the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS).
  • Bulk billing is reported on a year-to-date (YTD) basis over the course of the financial year. The bulk billing rate is calculated, then rounded to one decimal point for reporting purposes.
  • The latest bulk billing figures for 2016-17 financial year are for the July to December period.
  • Reporting figures on a YTD basis allows for comparisons between the same periods between financial years and allows seasonal variations to be taken into account (for example higher patient use of medical services in winter compared to summer).
  • Bulk billing data is also reported for individual quarters.
  • Bulk billing data is reported for:
    • All MBS services, by state/territory and remoteness area for sixteen Broad Type of Service (BTOS) categories. Each BTOS category typically comprises a set of related MBS group of items.
    • For example, bulk billing data is available for GP and specialist attendances, pathology, diagnostic imaging, practice nurses and allied health services.

Tables

Quarterly Medicare Statistics - September Quarter 1984 to December Quarter 2016 (Excel 4519 KB)
Quarterly Medicare Statistics - September Quarter 1984 to December Quarter 2016 (PDF 3266 KB)

The Department of Health has made every effort to ensure that the Microsoft Excel version of the above documents meets accessibility requirements. If you are experiencing difficulty accessing the information contained within this document, please email the MBS Statistics inbox to arrange for an alternative format to be provided to you.