(Australian Associated Press)
Almost nine out of ten visits to the doctor across Australia have been provided at no cost to the patient.
In the 12 months to September, the bulk billing rate for GP services was 88.7 per cent, 2.6 percentage points higher than a year earlier.
Total benefits for Medicare services reached $25.3 billion.
“Today’s figures show the Morrison government’s rapid response to the pandemic allowed Australians to access the health care they needed, despite the challenges of COVID-19,” federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said in a statement on Sunday.
“Temporary changes to Medicare introduced in response to the pandemic contributed to high bulk billing, while also reducing the risk of spreading the disease in the community.”
This included the bulk billing for GP telehealth services for vulnerable patients..
By the end of September, Medicare had paid benefits for 2.5 million COVID-19 video consultations and 30.4 million COVID-19 phone consultations provided by GPs, specialists and allied health professionals.