Unclaimed Medicare benefits totalling more than $230 million yet to be handed out

Medicare card and money

Nearly a million Australians who have gone to the doctor have not got their refund from Medicare because their bank details are wrong.

Unclaimed benefits worth $234 million are yet to be handed out because Medicare has nowhere to send the cash.

The amount owed to each person varies, but the average is $240.

Minister for government services Bill Shorten has urged people to check that their bank details are up to date to ensure they get their refund.

“We know Australians are doing it tough, and I want to reunite people with millions in unpaid Medicare benefits before the holidays,” he said.

“It’s quick and easy.

“To claim, check your banking details are recorded and correct with Medicare and once your details are updated, any unpaid benefits will automatically be paid within three days.”

Mr Shorten has encouraged people to go to the myGov website or the myGov app to update their personal information.

Those with a myGov account will also receive a notification from Medicare to tell them they have a refund waiting.

However, there are about 300,000 people who do not have a myGov account and are owed money, making it difficult for the government to get in touch with them.

People can also access further information by visiting servicesaustralia.gov.au/getmedicarebenefits

A medicare card
More than $230 million in unclaimed Medicare benefits is waiting for Australians. (AAP: Mick Tsikas)

Young Australians missing out

Of the nearly one million people yet to receive their refund, younger Australians are the largest cohort who have missed out.

Nearly 220,000 people aged between 18 to 24 are owed a total of $49.2 million.

Some 142,300 people aged between 25 and 34 have Medicare benefits owing worth $27.5 million.

The age cohort with the least amount of money owing is those over 75 years of age.

AgeUnpaid benefitsEligible recipients
17 and under$17.8 million112,200
18-24$49.2 million221,500
25-34$25.7 million142,300
35-44$25.2 million121,200
45-54$35 million129,100
55-64$35.5 million115,300
65-74$24.3 million68,700
75 and over$20.8 million60,700

New South Wales and Victoria have the highest number of people eligible for refunds, which is reflective of their large populations.

Last financial year, Services Australia paid nearly $28 billion in Medicare benefits and about 0.8 per cent of payments were not paid due to having out of date bank details lodged.

All Australians are eligible for Medicare, and people on certain visas, such as temporary protection visas and skilled work regional provisional visas, can also access subsidised healthcare.

StateUnpaid benefitsEligible residents
ACT$4.3 million16,000
NSW$72.6 million284,000
Northern Territory$1.6 million7,800
Queensland$46 million203,100
South Australia$17.4 million76,600
Tasmania$4.7 million21,000
Victoria$59.7 million243,000
Western Australia$27.2 million119,500

2020 Australian Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.
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Written by ABC News

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