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Plibersek: Bulk billing rates at record highs

24 May 2012 - 6:16pm
Written by: 
Suzanne Still

Bulk billing rates are at a record high, according to the federal government - with $4.3 billion was paid out in the March quarter.

Health minister Tanya Plibersek revealed today (May 24) that 81.2 per cent of GP services were bulk billed in the three-month period, with records being set for pathology, diagnostic imaging, and radiation therapy.

The percentage of all bulk billing services combined also set a record at 76.5 per cent.

According to Ms Plibersek, Medicare rebates were up by 9.8 per cent compared to the previous year.

"This represents approximately 3.7 services and $192 in benefits for every Australian," she said.

"While bulk billing rates can fluctuate, the government is pleased to see they have been trending up for some years and are now at record highs."

While Medicare covers a number of health services including public hospital admission, Australians with private health insurance may benefit from a broader range of specialists and facilities.

Private health cover can offer access to shorter waiting lists and a choice in doctor when patients attend a private hospital.