Date published: 
4 September 2019
Media type: 
Media release
General public

An increased number of Australians are attending General Practitioner (GP) appointments without reaching into their pockets, with GP bulk billing rates under Medicare hitting a record high of 86.2 per cent for the full year of 2018-19. 

Since 2012-13, bulk billing rates have increased by four full percentage points from 82.2 per cent, and is further proof Medicare is stronger than ever before under this Government.

Our commitment to Medicare and bulk billing is rock solid. 

The latest figure - up 0.1 percentage point compared to last year - was the fourth consecutive quarter last financial year to achieve a record, and is evidence more Australians are visiting their doctor without having to pay a cent. 

Patients made 136.5 million bulk billed GP visits in 2018-19, up 3.3 million on the previous financial year.

The bulk billing rate for total Medicare services reached 79.2 per cent for 2018-19, up 0.2 percentage points compared to the previous year, and up 2.7 percentage points from 76.5 per cent in 2012-13.

The benefits for patients are clear. Australians accessed 335.8 million bulk billed services including GP, specialist, pathology and diagnostic imaging services in 2018–19, up 8.9 million more than the record set last year.

The total cost of all Medicare services in 2018-19 was $24.1 billion, an increase of 3.5 per cent in benefits paid.

These figures show that Medicare is supporting the health and wellbeing of Australians more than ever before. 

As well as continuing and increasing its investment in Medicare, the Morrison Government is ensuring it supports quality health care. 

On 1 July this year, the Government increased the patient rebate for further GP items on the Medicare Benefits Schedule. Specialist procedures, allied health services and other GP services such as mental health and after hour’s services, were indexed.

The Medicare Benefits Schedule Review will ensure Medicare services are effective and appropriate for patients now and into the future. 

Australia has one of the best health systems in the world, founded on Medicare. These figures show Medicare, under the Morrison Government is supporting the health and wellbeing of Australians more than ever.