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Tuesday, 10 August 2004
Page: 26054


Senator Nettle asked the Minister representing the Minister for Health and Ageing, upon notice, on 19 May 2004:

With reference to the Government's Medicare Plus package, in which it is stated an additional 1.8 million in services will be bulk-billed each year:

(1) (a) What was the analytical procedure used to determine this figure; and

(b) Can details be provided.

(2) Does the analysis include the categorisation of what groups of people will have access to extra bulk-billed services; if so, can the categories and the breakdown of groups be provided.

(3) Given the Rural, Remote and Metropolitan Areas classifications 1 and 2 are excluded, does the analysis include the percentage or number of Australians that will be able to access these extra bulk-billing services; if so, can these figures be provided.


Senator Ian Campbell (Minister for the Environment and Heritage) —The Minister for Health and Ageing has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

1.8 million refers to the estimated number of additional bulk billed services that will attract the $7.50 incentive payments not the amount of money that will be spent on these services.

(1) (a) Analysis was based on Medicare information for individual GP provider numbers for the calendar year 2003. For each individual provider number the number of additional bulk billed services resulting from the $7.50 incentive was calculated based on the assumption that for each provider, services previously patient charged would be bulk billed if the average patient charge for patient bulk billed services for that provider for services covered by the incentive was less than $7.50. This analysis provided an estimate of 1.8 million additional bulk billed services.

(b) Aggregate data from this data set is contained in the table below.

2003 Calendar year RRMAs 3-7 + Hobart and surrounds

Total services

Bulk billed services

Services for providers with average charge < $7.50

Concession cardholders

14,108,125

8,974,893

1,222,714

Children under 16 not covered by concession cards

2,302,723

1,431,011

604,091

Cardholders + non concessional Children

16,410,848

10,405,904

1,826,805

(2) The analysis was based on Medicare information for individual provider numbers not patients. Aggregate data from services provided by individual doctor provider numbers has been supplied in response to the above question 1(b).

(3) The data used in the modelling of this measure only pertains to the number of services that individual GPs provide to certain categories not the number of people that a GP sees or that these services represent. In RRMAs 3-7, Hobart and surrounds for the calendar year 2003 approximately 16.4 million GP services were provided to Commonwealth Concession cardholders and children under 16. This represents around 30% of all services provided to Commonwealth Concession card holders and children under 16