David Littlerpoud MP David Littlerpoud

Rural Bulk Billing changes to benefit the bush

May 20, 2021

To make it more affordable to see your GP or get a scan or test – like an x-ray or blood test – Maranoa MP David Littleproud said the Federal Government will invest more than $65 million to boost bulk billing rebates.

“From January 1 next year, a new incentive schedule will be applied to increase the value of the Rural Bulk Billing Incentive based on remoteness. This will enhance the financial viability of practices in rural and remote areas as well as reducing the gap paid by patients,” Mr Littleproud said.

The more remote the area based on the Modified Monash model, the greater the incentive payment they will receive per eligible consultation to recognise the greater challenges and cost pressures.

Bulk billing incentives encourage doctors to bulk bill vulnerable patients, including children under 16 years old and concession card holders, leaving them with no out-of-pocket costs.

“The Coalition Government is delivering the progressive rural bulk billing incentives in recognition of the ongoing need to provide the right incentives for the heath workforce in rural, regional and remote areas,” he said.

“Australians in rural and remote areas have poorer access to and use of health services, compared to people living in metropolitan areas and this new Budget announcement will go towards addressing that inadequacy.

“The new Rural Bulk Billing Incentive will support those GPs providing services to people in greatest need and who have the lowest propensity to pay for healthcare; this government understands GPs outside of our metropolitan areas face greater cost and workforce pressures.”

Mr Littleproud said the Federal Government understands GPs face greater health complexities and challenges in rural and remote areas, which is why more than 12,000 rural and remote GPs will be eligible for the higher bulk billing incentive.

“Doctors in the bush face a greater burden of responsibility, more complex care situations, and high rates of chronic disease compared with doctors in the cities, who can rely on support from other medical services and facilities,” he said.

This bulk billing Budget measure is in addition to a suite of existing incentives the Federal Government provides to recruit, retain and encourage GPs to service our rural and remote communities.

Fact box: What’s bulk billing? Bulk billing means you don’t have to pay for your medical service from a health professional – like visits to the GP, tests and scans. They bill Medicare instead and accept the Medicare benefit as full payment for the service.