General Explanatory Notes
The Services Australia website contains information on Medicare billing and claiming options. Please visit the Services Australia website for further information.
Under the Health Insurance Act 1973, a bulk billing facility for professional services is available to all persons in Australia who are eligible for a benefit under the Medicare program. If a practitioner bulk bills for a service the practitioner undertakes to accept the relevant Medicare benefit as full payment for the service. Additional charges for that service cannot be raised. This includes but is not limited to:
- any consumables that would be reasonably necessary to perform the service, including bandages and/or dressings;
- record keeping fees;
- a booking fee to be paid before each service, or;
- an annual administration or registration fee.
Where the patient is bulk billed, an additional charge can only be raised against the patient by the practitioner where the patient is provided with a vaccine or vaccines from the practitioner's own supply held on the practitioner's premises. This exemption only applies to general practitioners and other non-specialist practitioners in association with attendance items 3 to 96, 179 to 212, 733 to 789 and 5000 to 5267 (inclusive) and only relates to vaccines that are not available to the patient free of charge through Commonwealth or State funding arrangements or available through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. The additional charge must only be to cover the supply of the vaccine.
Where a practitioner provides a number of services (excluding operations) on the one occasion, they can choose to bulk bill some or all of those services and privately charge a fee for the other service (or services), in excess of the Medicare rebate. The privately charged fee can only be charged in relation to said service (or services). Where two or more operations are provided on the one occasion, all services must be either bulk billed or privately charged.
It should be noted that, where a service is not bulk billed, a practitioner may privately raise an additional charge against a patient, such as for a consumable. An additional charge can also be raised where a practitioner does not bulk bill a patient but instead charges a fee that is equal to the rebate for the Medicare service. For example, where a general practitioner provides a professional service to which item 23 relates the practitioner could, in place of bulk billing the patient, charge the rebate for the service and then also raise an additional charge (such as for a consumable).
- Assist - Addition/Deletion of (Assist.)
- Amend - Amended Description
- Anaes - Anaesthetic Values Amended
- Emsn - EMSN Change
- Fee - Fee Amended
- Renum - Item Number Change (renumbered)
- New - New Item
- NewMin - New Item (previous Ministerial Determination)
- Qfe - QFE Change