To bulk bill, or not to bulk bill - that is the question!

The Medicare Benefits Scheme can be tricky for us normal people to navigate, but the short take home message is that we are finding that our patients do not really understand how it works.  For under 65's, there is one full test covered by Medicare every 3 years. For over 65's there is an annual full test covered by the MBS.  The Medicare Benefits Scheme covers 85% of the set scheduled fee, so there should actually be a 15% co-payment by the patient.

The MBS have not updated the scheduled fee to adjust for inflation in a very long time, so many private practises have moved away from bulk billing to be able to keep offering the same level of service.  We are grappling with the "to bulk bill, or not to bulk bill" question, and will have to find a way to look after the best interest of our patients, but also ensuring our long-term survival.

Wouldn't it be fantastic if the MBS could be updated and we don't have to make the hard call on this! The Optometry Board of Australia has some position statements on Medicare rebates that you can look at here if you are interested in further reading on the subject.

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