Bulk billing on the rise

The GP bulk billing rate has risen by 2.1 percentage points in the first two months since the Australian Government tripled the bulk billing incentive.

The Hon Mark Butler MP
Minister for Health and Aged Care

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The GP bulk billing rate has risen by 2.1 percentage points in the first two months since the Australian Government tripled the bulk billing incentive. 

The landmark Budget initiative is a key part of the Government’s $6.1 billion Strengthening Medicare reforms and is the largest investment in bulk billing in Medicare’s 40-year history. 
The increase in the bulk billing rate means Australians had an estimated 360,000 additional trips to the GP bulk billed since the tripled incentive began on 1 November. 
Bulk billing had been falling after a decade of cuts and neglect to Medicare by the former Government that began when Peter Dutton froze Medicare rebates as Health Minister.
Thanks to the Australian Government, bulk billing has now stabilised and begun to rise again, enabling GPs to bulk bill more patients who need care the most.  
Families with children under 16, pensioners and other concession cardholders are finding it easier to see a bulk billing doctor than they have for decades. 
The increase in bulk billing is across all states and territories, with GP clinics around the country making the shift back to bulk billing:  

Rural and regional Australians have benefited the most with an estimated additional 202,000 free visits to the GP in just two months. 
The extra free visits are benefitting both people’s health and their hip pockets.  
Nationally, Australians saved an estimated $15 million in GP gap fees in November and December, helping to ease the cost-of-living pressures on household budgets. 
The bulk billing incentive is paid on top of the standard Medicare benefit when doctors bulk bill children under 16, pensioners and other Commonwealth concession card holders.
The GP bulk billing rate measures the proportion of all GP visits and services under Medicare that involved no patient payment.
Quotes attributable to Minister Butler:  
“Doctors’ groups have called our tripling of the bulk billing incentive a ‘game changer’ – and clearly it is. 
“The Albanese Government committed to making it easier for people to see a bulk billing doctor – and the first two months of data show that is exactly what is happening right around the country, particularly in rural and regional areas. 
“At the same time, general practice incomes have increased. Eligible patients account for around 3 out of 5 visits to the GP, and in some communities much more than that, meaning a very significant increase to general practice incomes. 
“For a doctor in a major city, the Medicare payment they get to bulk bill these patients for a standard consult has increased by 34%. 
“For a doctor in regional and rural Australia, the Medicare payment has increased by around 50%. 
“This is a win all round – for patients, doctors and the health system – and it is helping make Medicare stronger than it has ever been since Labor introduced it 40 years ago.” 

 Bulk Billing Rate % pt change since Oct 2023 

Oct 2023 

(before incentive increase)

Nov 2023 Dec 2023 Dec 2023 
NSW 80.6% 81.2% 82.3% Up 1.7 
VIC 76.8% 77.4% 78.3% Up 1.5 
QLD 73.6% 74.5% 75.8% Up 2.2 
SA 70.7% 73.2% 74.5% Up 3.8 
WA 68.4% 69.6% 70.8% Up 2.4 
TAS 66.3% 68.9% 72.0% Up 5.7 
NT 71.5% 73.0% 73.6% Up 2.1 
ACT 51.5% 51.4% 53.4% Up 1.9 
Australia 75.6% 76.5% 77.7% Up 2.1 



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