More Australians than ever are receiving the medical care they need at no cost to themselves, as recent data shows almost nine out of 10 visits to the GP over the year to December were provided with no out-of-pocket cost.
Record GP bulk billing rates reached an all-time high of 89.3 per cent for the year to date to December 2020, compared to 81.9 per cent for the same period in 2012-13.
Across all Medicare services, the bulk billing rate reached 81.3 per cent, an increase of 4.8 percentage points since 2012-13.
In total, Medicare services increased to 440.3 million with total benefits paid reaching $25.9 billion.
The Australian Government’s rapid and effective response to the COVID-19 pandemic is reflected in today’s record-breaking figures.
We made temporary changes to include telehealth items through Medicare, ensuring Australians can continue to seek medical care while reducing the risk of spreading the disease in the community.
By the end of December, Medicare had paid benefits for 3.3 million COVID-19 video consultations and 41 million COVID-19 phone consultations provided by GPs, specialists and allied health professionals.
The temporary telehealth items represented 22.2 per cent of GP consultations and 10.1 per cent of all Medicare services over the year to December. In total, 36 million GP consultations were provided via phone and 993,730 via video over the year.
Our Government’s commitment to Medicare and bulk billing remains rock solid. These figures show that we are supporting the health and wellbeing of Australians more than ever before.