Palmers Medical Centre Practice Fee – effective 1st July 2022

Palmers Medical Centre will be private billing patients for GP consultations from 1st July 2022. This is due to substantial increase in cost for running the practice and constraints on our resources while Medicare rebate has barely increased in the past 10 years. E.g. for a standard consultation MBS Item 23, Medicare rebate in 2012 was $36.30 and now in June 2022 it is $39.10, an increase of $2.80 in 10 years or a overall increase of 7% in 10 years. This leaves General Practitioners in no choice but to move away from bulk billing.

Fee FAQs are below

Summary of changes from 1st July 2022

  • There will be an out of pocket fee of $30 for consultations during regular business hours.
  • There will be an out of pocket fee of $40 for consultations during after hours (after 8pm and weekends, public holidays).
  • Kids 15 and under will get a 50% discounted out of pocket fee, i.e. pay of gap $15 during regular hours and $20 during afterhours. Kids with concession cards will be bulk billed during regular hours.
  • Patients on concession cards will be bulk billed during regular business hours.
  • Patients on concession cards for afterhours visits will get a 50% discounted out of pocket fee, ie. will pay a gap of $20 for all afterhours visits.
  • All patients are expected to settle their account on the day. Accounts not settled on the day will incur an admin charge of $10.
  • WALK-IN Patients & Emergencies – There will be an out of pocket fee of $40 at all times
  • WorkCover Patients – There will be an out of pocket fee of $40 at all times. Patient to pay and get worksafe standard fee re-imbursed from the employer/insurance agency.
  • Bulk billing available for following services
    • All vaccinations when completed within a vaccine clinic
    • Health Assessments and some Care Plans
    • Results follow up, repeat script when completed within a rapid bulk billing clinic where short consults are offered
  • Patients without Medicare card will be charged the full fee and they are to claim their rebate directly from their private insurance.
  • There will be out of pocket costs for afterhours telehealth, procedures, wound dressings etc. Please refer to our website – fee section for full details on our fee.
  • No show / Late cancel fee will be $30 for regular hours, $40 for afterhours for standard appointments.
  • PAYMENT OPTIONS – Payments can be made by cash, cheque, major credit cards (Visa/Mastercard only) and EFTPOS. Medicare claims are sent for processing online.
  • Tyro Medicare Easyclaim is available. Medicare patients, when paying your account in full, this allows an instant refund of the Medicare/ government rebate from Medicare to your Cheque or Savings account using our integrated EFTPOS machine.

Thank you for your continued support to help us provide General Practice services.

 

FEE FAQs

Why now, after so many years of bulk billing are you changing to private billing?

  • We have been bulk billing at Truganina centre for past 8+ years though Medicare rebates have not increased as per cost of living or even CPI hoping that they would go up one day to be same but they haven’t and with recent increases in cost of living, which inturns increased our practice running costs, in some areas as much as 80% increase we are left with no choice but to move to private billing. As an example, for a standard consultation MBS Item 23, Medicare rebate in Dec 2012 was $35.60 and now in June 2022 it is $39.10, an increase of $2.80 in 10 years or a overall increase of 7% in 10 years.
  • When we bulk bill we are effectively taking a 50% discount from the AMA advised rate. This is no longer sustainable .
  • Please feel free to contact our local members of parliament to lobby for appropriate primary care funding to ensure we can maintain quality care at an affordable price for the community we care deeply about.

Isn’t your centre funded by government? Don’t Medicare pay for all your costs?

  • No, we are not funded directly by government or Medicare. We are a private business like most other small businesses. Our majority of income come from fee paid by the patient for their visit to see the GPs.

What other costs do doctors or centre have? Isn’t the Medicare rebate enough?

  • We are a private business like most other small businesses and have similar costs including rent, staff wages, power bill, telephone bills, IT, medical supplies, office/IT supplies, cleaning etc. Medicare rebate has only increased by 7% overall in last 10 years. How much did other costs of businesses or everything that you know went up in last 10 years?

But I cannot afford the fee?

  • The doctors are happy to bulk bill patients with any of their current valid concession cards for consultations during week days from 8am to 6pm.
  • Consultations after 8pm on week days, after 1pm Saturday and all day Sunday and public holidays will have a gap fee.

Can I pay just the gap fee?

  • No, you have to pay the full fee on the day. We can process the medicare refund (if you have a medicare card) immediately into a cheque/saving account debit card if you have one, using tyro easyclaim.
  • If you do have a debit card linked to your savings or cheque account we can process the medicare rebate to be paid into the bank account linked to your medicare card in the Medicare system.
  • If your bank account is not linked, we will give you the payment reciept that you can use to claim the rebate back from Medicare, online using their app or by visiting their office.

What are my payment options?

  • You can pay using cash, credit/debit card or apple pay.

How do I get my Medicare Rebate back?

  • If you have registered your bank account details with Medicare, our system allows us to process your rebate (refund) to your account as soon as possible. Please ask our friendly staff for more details.

Our kids get sick more often, can you charge a reduced fee?

  • Yes, the doctors are happy to charge only 50% of gap fee for kids 15 and under.

I need a longer appointment, do I need to pay more gap fee?

  • No, the doctors are happy to charge the same gap fee irrespective of standard or long appointment.  So if you have more than 1 health issue, have complex medical issues, or require a Mental Health Consultation or Plan we recommend arranging a double appointment.

Do I have to pay the gap for short visits too?

  • There are some exceptions, e.g. the following visits can be bulk billed
    • Vaccine appointments – Only when completed in a specific vaccine clinic.
    • Follow-up appointments – Only when completed as short consults within a rapid bulk billing clinic.
    • Repeat scripts – Only when completed as short consults within a rapid bulk billing clinic.
    • Health assessment and some care plans

What is the gap fee if I come as a walk-in patient?

  • Walk-in patients are charged a gap fee of $40 at all times, irrespective of age or whether they have concession cards.

Can we claim the gap back from our private insurance if we have one?

  • As far as we are aware private insurance doesn’t cover the gap fee for general practice visits. But please check with your insurance by quoting gap fee for MBS Items 23 or 5020 which are standard visit item numbers charged by general practitioners.

Is it allowed for General Practice to charge a gap for GP visits?

Are there any other practices doing it?

From what we know there are many practice in our area and right across the country who are converting to private billing as bulk billing is not viable anymore for most. Please see these recent news articles:

Can I talk to someone about it as I have other questions?

Yes, please email your details to info@palmersmedical.com.au and one of our staff will call you to discuss further


* Please note that our fee are subject to change without prior notice.