Budget 2017: Better access to bulk billing and PBS

The freeze on the indexation of the Medicare Benefits Scheme will gradually cease from 1 July 2017, making bulk billing more accessible to patients.

Bulk billing payments to GPs for concession card holders and children will be indexed from 1 July 2017, ending the freeze that has been in place since 2014. For non-concession card holders and specialist fees, the indexation will commence from 1 July 2018 and from 1 July 2019, specialist procedure and allied health fees will benefit from indexation.

Changes to the bulk billing incentives for, giving pathology and diagnostic imaging services, announced as part of the 2015/16 Mid Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook will not commence as planned on 1 July 2017. This means that patients will face less out-of-pocket expenses on such items.

In addition, targeted diagnostic imaging, such as mammograms and interventional radiotherapy will be index for the first time from 1 July 2020.

Funding to the tune of $1.2 billion will be provided for new and amended listings on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, giving patients access to more affordable medicines.

Written by Debbie McTaggart

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