Cessation of the Telehealth Financial Incentives Program

Questions relating to the cessation of the Telehealth Financial Incentives Program

Page last updated: 01 April 2014

Why is the Telehealth Financial Incentives program closing?

The financial incentives were introduced to encourage and support the adoption of telhealth. From 1 July 2011 to 31 December 2013, more than 9,200 Medicare providers and 211 eligible Residential Aged Care Facilities have provided more than 144,000 Medicare telehealth services to over 55,000 patients. The financial incentives were designed to step down each year and cease in order to encourage early adoption.

Will I be paid any financial incentives for services I provide after 30 June 2014?

No. Valid telehealth services provided before midnight on 30 June 2014 are eligible for financial incentives but services provided after this date will only attract Medicare benefits.

I have provided a telehealth service to a patient prior to 30 June 2014, but submitted the claim after 31 December 2014. Will I be eligible for an incentive payment?

No. Claims for valid telehealth services provided before midnight on 30 June 2014 must be submitted to DHS before midnight on 31 December 2014 for financial incentives to be paid.

Claims submitted after this date will not be eligible for incentive payments.

Will the MBS telehealth items change after the incentives cease?

No. The MBS items remain unchanged after the financial incentives program ceases. The MBS items will continue to be paid at higher rates than the equivalent face-to-face service.

Will I be eligible for the second on-board financial incentive instalment payment if I provide my tenth service after 30 June 2014?

No. The tenth valid telehealth service needs to be provided before midnight on 30 June 2014 and the claim submitted to DHS before 30 December 2014 in order for the second on-board instalment to be paid.

I provided a service to my patient prior to 30 June 2013 but my patient hasn't submitted the claim to DHS before 31 December 2014. Will I be paid an incentive(s) for the service?

No. There are no exceptions to the 31 December 2014 date for submitting claims for payment of outstanding incentives.

To 31 December 2013, 98 per cent of telehealth services were bulk-billed. The very small number of practitioners who are not bulk-billing their patients are expected to manage any risks associated with patients submitting claims past the deadline. Bulk bill claims submitted after 31 December 2014, but within two years of the date the service was provided, will still be eligible for Medicare benefits.