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Bulk-billing incentives from February 1



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Media Release

The Hon Tony Abbott MHR Minister for Health and Ageing

12 January 2004 ABB003/04

Bulk-billing incentives from February 1

The $935 million MedicarePlus bulk-billing incentive will take effect from 1 February.

This MedicarePlus measure means that every Commonwealth concession card holder and child under 16 who is bulk-billed will attract an additional $5 rebate - so GPs have more incentive to bulk-bill their patients especially concession card holders and children.

Any GP who is thinking of changing bulk-billing practices should think again in light of the new incentive payment.

This new Medical Benefit Schedule item does not need legislation and is not delayed in the Senate. The regulation making the new item was approved by the Executive Council on 4 December 2003 and gazetted on 11 December.

From 1 February, every bulk-billed GP service to concession card holders and children will attract an extra $5. For a standard bulk-billed consultation with a concession card holder or child under 16, GPs will receive $30.70 rather than $25.70. A typical GP will receive an extra $15,500 per year from this measure.

These payments will be made automatically.

As is the case now, GPs remain free to bulk bill anyone they choose - but this measure offers greater incentive for GPs to bulk bill.

More information on MedicarePlus is at www.health.gov.au

For more media information call Kate Jordan, Tony Abbott's office on 0417 425 227