GP fees rise to $78 from 1 November

The standard cost of a 20-minute visit to the doctor is expected to rise.

GP fees rise to $78 from 1 November

Today the AMA prepares to recommend a hike in GP fees and the standard cost of a 20-minute visit to the doctor is expected to rise from 1 November.

Doctors will raise fees to $78, meaning patients will be $40.95 out of pocket per visit with the Medicare rebate frozen at the 2014 level of $37.05. The rebate freeze is in place until 2020 with Medicare statistics showing out-of-pocket expenses to visit a GP rising at 6.5 per cent a year.

According to Royal Australian College of General Practitioners President Dr Bastian Seidel, the Government has underspent on health by $170 million on the final budget outcome statement. Dr Seidel believes that this money should be used to lift the rebate freeze, which would cost $150 million.

The Herald Sun is reporting that, due to the rebate freeze and increased prices, “a flood of doctors” are preparing to abandon the practice of bulk billing.

What do you think? Does the Government need to find the money in the budget to lift the rebate freeze? Will you be forced to reduce or avoid visits to your GP?

Read more at www.heraldsun.com.au

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    COMMENTS

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    Brett (no longer) in China
    19th Oct 2016
    10:24am
    I'd be interested to know the last time anyone had a 20 minute visit to a GP - 10 minute, maybe??
    MICK
    19th Oct 2016
    11:57am
    The real question is WHY do GPs need another pay increase? The cost of their wages bill has been static for 10 years and the only costs rising dramatically are CEO and Director remuneration, lawyer hourly rates and government charges. I mean have these people not heard that we have low low inflation? Just greed.
    maxchugg
    19th Oct 2016
    3:14pm
    While I am extremely appreciative of the services I obtain from my GP, I think, Mick, that you raise a valid question. However this is hardly informed comment because I have no idea of the cost of operating a medical practice. I would bet that their insurance bills alone would be staggering.

    I think that the real villains here are the government. Surely some explanation as to how they deem that the appropriate rebate for a standard medical consultation can be frozen at $37.05 is required.

    The government is obviously waging war with the unions at present, but they never seem concerned about professional unions, including the Australian Medical Association and the Law society.

    On one occasion, a long time ago, I received an account from a specialist which informed me that the scheduled fee was $90, the AMA recommended fee was probably $180 (I don't remember the exact figures) and he was charging the AMA fee). I was left wondering how the government would react if a tradesman submitted his account and said that the award rate for his trade was $30 per hour, but the union recommended rate was $60 per hour, so that was what he was charging.

    The flaw in my argument is that competition would prevent tradies from getting away with such a stunt, but in the medical world there is no competition because of a drastic shortage of doctors. In the area where I live, if you lose your doctor for any reason - mine died - getting another one can be a major problem. It is simply astonishing how many medical practices have closed their books to new patients.
    AussieTuca
    19th Oct 2016
    10:43am
    Well, I am sick, literally, with Prostate Cancer, yes, the big C and am not looking forward to this greedy new increases. The Government talks so much about cutting expenses making cuts to Medicare but do not realize that some flaws exist in the GP system.

    There are "short consultations" and "long consultations", 20 min and top 45 min. I clocked for some time and I never spent more than 10 min with a doctor being practically pushed to the exit door because, I think, was taking too much time and he would need to see the next patient ASAP. However, many, many times I was charged level c instead level b (long instead short consultation).

    For one year, treating allergy problems, the "specialist" charged Medicare long consultation instead of short for a simple prick on the arm with a seringe.

    Yes, I emailed Medicare and got a response from them. Total lack of interest.

    They do not realize that we can check all the charges by just logging in MyGov.com and perusing Medicare. Now, multiply this by hundreds daily and find how much money are being paid by Medicare. And the rebates are frozen. And they want an increase to their already high fees.

    Well, I don't have much longer on this planet so I should not care but hell, they should be the ones to be castrated. How unfair can a system be?
    Biddy
    19th Oct 2016
    10:46am
    I don't think parents with children will be able to afford these prices,it will take one death because a Mother doesn't have the money up front to pay he Doctor,we were told that the Government would not touch Medicare but of course we all knew this would happen and of course they will blame the Ama so it doesn't reflect on them and the public cannot blame them for breaking a promise,but we all know different and it will effect so many low income people shame on the Government and the doctors,and when does anyone ever get a 20 minute visit these Dr rush you and get you out just as quick ,the hospital out patients will once again be full as people will take themselves and their families to visit the Dr there because it will be cheaper for them and who can blame themI think Doctors are getting to greedy and the people are getting poorer and it will always remain this way
    sidney70
    19th Oct 2016
    11:07am
    God I am sick of all these changes. I am sick of it all. Politicians make me sick. Changes to age pensions make me sick. Cost of living makes me sick. Not enough money makes me sick. Just trying to keep my head above water makes me sick. Bills make me sick. God I am sick. It will cost me a fortune now to see the Doctor because everything is making me sick. Now I am depressed.
    Brett (no longer) in China
    19th Oct 2016
    11:09am
    You need to see your GP ???? ????
    AussieTuca
    19th Oct 2016
    1:08pm
    Yeah! Go today before the changes or you will pay more in a near future!
    PlanB
    22nd Oct 2016
    10:06am
    sidney I too am sick to death of the bloody lot of them both here and in the USA -- what a *&^%$#* circus that is
    marls
    19th Oct 2016
    11:08am
    greed beyond
    AussieTuca
    19th Oct 2016
    11:11am
    They're all fans and followers of Gordon Gekko: Greedy is good!...

    19th Oct 2016
    11:14am
    On reading this article carefully, I think there has been an effort to cloud the main issue which is that doctors are raising their fees. The decision of doctors raising fees has nothing to do with the freeze on Medicare rebates imposed by the Labor government and carried on by the Coalition. As I read it, the AMA is trying to link the freeze on the Medicare rebate as the reason that doctors will need to be paid more but in my opinion there is no link.
    Eddy
    19th Oct 2016
    11:43am
    I remember my parents saying a 'good workman is worth his hire', the same goes for GPs. But consider, if the GP is charging $78 for a 20 min visit that is only $230 per hour, not much when you consider their expenses such as rent, staff (reception, practice manager, practice nurse), hire of diagnostic equipment, vehicle, computers, ongoing professional education, repaying loans to set up practice, professional indemnity insurance, and then the normal business expenses of tax, insurance, utilities, cleaning etc etc etc. Given that GPs have a five year degree plus more years as an intern before going into practice it is not surprising they want a reasonable remuneration for this effort, why not as much as a lawyer, accountant or even a plumber or electrician. To accuse them of greed is unwarranted. To accuse the government of not accepting GP's value is warranted.
    Also the Liberals have been against Medibank/Medicare since the beginning. In 1974 it took a double dissolution and a joint sitting to get the legislation through Parliament, and it been slowly watered down by successive Liberal governments since then.
    Anonymous
    19th Oct 2016
    12:00pm
    Hey Eddy, I didn't say anything about the amount of the increase nor did I mention greed, merely that the AMA was trying to justify it using the wrong figures. You can say that Liberal governments have watered down Medicare yet there are others who would say they made it work properly.
    Rae
    20th Oct 2016
    8:02am
    If the Doctor's Union was not allowed to dictate doctor numbers prices could come down through competition. While ever the AMA is in charge nothing will become cheaper will it?

    Not much different from a bunch of unionists in charge of the building industry really.
    Pudding
    19th Oct 2016
    11:23am
    Up until 2 months ago, my husband and myself were the Guardians for a friend of hours. The girls at reception would nearly always make a 20 min appointment for him to see the Dr due to his medical problems. My husband and myself have also spent over 20mins with our local GP. We have always just signed the form when we have finished. I think it depends on the medical problem and the Dr.
    scouserdog
    19th Oct 2016
    11:48am
    I am already paying far more than that. If you have a chronic illness this really is a problem and doctors here in Canberra do not bulk bill.
    Heleno
    19th Oct 2016
    12:19pm
    This is the same problem predicted by Labor during the election. The Coalition called it "Mediscare."
    Not Senile Yet!
    19th Oct 2016
    12:59pm
    Mediscare or Not....our Party Puppets are determined to cut costs......and everything is a Target!
    BUT NOT THEM......NOT THEIR OVERSPENDING ON THEMSELVES!
    Sack the lot of them by refusing to Vote for ALL PARTY PUPPETS......They are refusing everyone wage increases.....but allowing everything to be increased above the CPI...which is completely Unsustainable.....10yrs @ 6% = 60% increase!
    10yrs@ 2.5%= 25% increase in income.....thats a LOSS of 35% from spending power!
    20yrs from now that =70%!
    We will be on 3rd World Incomes with everything simply being UNAFFORDABLE!
    Not just Medical....EVERYTHING!
    Sack them all by refusing to Vote either Corrupt Party Puppets into OUR PARLIAMENT!
    AussieTuca
    19th Oct 2016
    1:06pm
    And don't forget some asking for an increase on their pensions that already is as high as $120.000,00 a year... Compare that with a meagre $ 32000,00 a year!
    HDRider
    19th Oct 2016
    1:20pm
    Greedy scumbags the lot of em! Maybe if tradespeople said, Oh you are a doctor, sorry, you come under a different rate and charged them more for every visit, they'd get the message.
    Next will be the Pollies increase, and so the game of political pay rise ping pong goes on untill Australia goes broke hahaha
    Bluegum
    19th Oct 2016
    1:30pm
    I agree with Eddy

    Doctors have every right to make money, like all other workers and business people. For their years of training, experience and responsibility and accountability, I would also argue they have every right toAfter all if I call an electrician I am charged $100 for the callout fee and first 15 minutes then $55 for each 10 minutes after that.
    The issue here is what industry (medical, legal, political or any other business) is being expected to keep their costs at 2014 levels for six years? And remember that the medicar rebate does not cover 100% of the fee in the first place. Doctors who bulk bill are agreeing to accept 85% (or even less) of the total fee that non-bulk billing doctors are charging.

    Would a tradesman/woman keep their costs at 2014 for six years? Would any retailer? Of course not! So why should doctors be any different? Their costs as Eddy said are continuing to rise.

    The issue here is very, very clearly the government who have refused to increase medicare payments to a reasonable level in line with inflation and other cost rises. No matter which party you voted for, this was always obviously going to happen. It was not "mediscare" it was just plain and simple obvious logic based on the actions of the government.
    Gammer
    19th Oct 2016
    8:00pm
    It has always been my belief that, at the very least, the Medicare levy which is paid by all workers should give everybody free GP consultations. I can appreciate that specialised services may incur additional costs but a visit to your GP definitely should not.
    Julian
    20th Oct 2016
    11:17am
    Maybe they should log their start and end times with each patient and submit their charges according to the time spent. 20 minute (b consultation) is overused and I'm sure, by some of the comments posted that a's should be used instead. This would sees drs charge correctlycorrectly, knowing that an audit could see them warned for overcharging
    PlanB
    22nd Oct 2016
    10:04am
    HAve not read the other posts --

    The Turnbull Government -- called out the Shorten lot for going on about the Medicare changes, they ARE doing what Shoten said -- but by stealth -- same as work choices -- that is also happening by stealth bit by bit we are losing a little on PBS and other things, most don't notice as it is not told unless you have reason to find out -- like you have to pay more for medications now AND also have to buy more b4 you get free -- like I said bit by bit