Australian government to introduce electronic Medicare rebates
Sunday, August 13, 2006
The Australian federal government has announced that it will be introducing an electronic system for Medicare rebates within the next twelve months. Under the new system, patients will be able to receive their Medicare rebates electronically without having to visit a Medicare office.
During an interview in Sydney today, Prime Minister John Howard, along with his human services minister Joe Hockey and health minister Tony Abbott, announced that patients who pay for the services of a doctor using their credit cards will be able to receive their rebates electronically within 24 hours. Under the current system patients must visit a Medicare office to receive their rebates.
John Howard said the 80,000 people per day who queue at Medicare offices will no longer need to spend their lunch break in line at Medicare.
According to the government, doctors who bulk-bill their patients through Medicare will benefit through faster payments and reduced paperwork. "If it’s a bulk bill transaction; all they do is hand over their Medicare card," said Mr Hockey.
"The Medicare card is swiped in the EFTPOS device, all is done."
"Doctors will be rebated within 24 hours."
"Currently doctors are rebated up to 14 days for bulk bill claims."
The government claims that electronic rebates will be less expensive to process—costing only a few cents, compared to an estimated AUD $3.50 for an over-the-counter transaction. Despite this, patients who still wish to visit a Medicare office to receive their rebates will still be able to do so.
The minister for human services was quick to assure Australians that Medicare offices would remain open saying that over the past twelve months they have taken on an "expanded role" with the Family Assistance Office's services being provided in Medicare offices.
- Transcript. "Electronic Medicare Claims Announcement" — , August 13, 2006
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