More Australian patients are visiting their doctor without having to pay than ever before, with GP bulk billing rates for the March 2017 quarter increasing to 85.6% compared to 85.1% in the same quarter last year, according to the Department of Health.
This is the highest bulk billing rate for any March quarter since the inception of Medicare.
During July 2016 to March 2017, patients received 228.1 million bulk billed Medicare services – representing an additional 7.3 million fully subsidised services compared to the same period 12 months earlier.
Over this period Australians accessed 110.2 million GP services – an increase of 3.6 million services.
The total cost of all Medicare benefits paid during this period was $16.3 billion, an increase of 2.8%.