GP visits to cost more than $5

A Senate estimates committee has heard that over one million GP services will cost patients a considerable amount more than the $5 fee planned by the government.

Medicare currently only enables a GP to bulk bill or charge the full amount for consultations up front, with patients then required to claim back the Medicare rebate. This means that non-concessional patients aged 16 and over will have to pay at least $37 to see a doctor and then claim back the reduced Medicare rebate of $32 from 1 July 2015.

The legislation will have to pass the Senate, however, Labor and The Greens are set to vote it down. Assistant Health Minister Fiona Nash said that the fee, “remains government policy but we’ve paused to consult”.

Consultations are ongoing between Health Minister Susan Ley, doctors and other groups, with no support forthcoming from health groups, and doctors claiming it will deter people from visiting their GP, only to end up in hospital when their condition worsens.

Will you have to pay the additional fee? Can you afford to pay $37 upfront?

Written by Debbie McTaggart

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