Posted on: 19 July 2016
If you are about to start receiving medical treatment, you may be wondering about the difference between bulk billing and mixed billing. Below is a brief guide which explains the benefits of each system.
Medical facilities which offer bulk billing admit patients who have valid Medicare cards. This means that the cost of any treatment you receive will be billed directly to the Australian Government and you don't have to cover the cost yourself. If you visit a medical facility which offers bulk billing, then you will have to present your Medicare card. Once this has been approved, you will have a consultation with a doctor and treatment will be prescribed. The medical facility collects the bills for the treatments offered to a large number of patients and then passes them onto the government, hence the name of the process. One advantage of bulk billing is that there is no cost to the patient for treatment. It is also more efficient for the doctors because there is less paperwork to complete, and they are guaranteed to be paid.
Medical facilities which operate using mixed billing will not generally accept payment using a patient's Medicare card. Patients are instead required to pay upfront to cover the cost of any consultation and treatment. The patient must then make a claim to have some or all of the cost refunded by the government. As a patient, you'll benefit from mixed billing. You'll generally have a longer consultation with your doctor because they are not under as much pressure to see as large a number of people as when they have bulk billing appointments. Medical facilities benefit from mixed billing because they can charge a higher rate for each consultation and offer a variable rate of billing depending on if the appointment takes place during peak or off-peak hours.
It should be noted that some facilities might offer both bulk billing as well as mixed billing at their own discretion. Because of this, it is vital that you are clear about how you will be billed before you receive any treatment. If you have an appointment for a consultation at a medical facility and you have any questions about your billing options, you should contact your doctor who will be able to explain the billing system they use and any steps you need to take to pay for your treatment.Share