In the June quarter 2012, 82.0 per cent of GP attendances were bulk billed, an increase from 80.9 per cent for the same period in 2011. The current rate of 82.0 is the highest since the introduction of bulk billing in 1984.
In the June quarter 2012, 46.8 per cent of Australians (10 587 828 persons) had hospital cover private health insurance. This is an increase of 0.4 percentage points compared with the March quarter 2012 and a 3.4 per cent increase compared with the June quarter 2011 (an extra 332 153 insured people).
The total number of people with hospital cover passed the 10 million mark in the September quarter 2010.
What is measured
The general practice (GP) bulk billing rate is the percentage of all non-referred GP attendances (excluding practice nurse items) that are bulk billed. Bulk billing is a payment option under Medicare where the health service provider is paid 85 per cent of the scheduled fee directly by the government. The patient does not incur any out-of-pocket payment for a bulk billed service.
A range of other Medicare data are available online from the Department of Health and Ageing, such as bulk billing rates for other medical services and the average patient contribution per service.
The private health insurance hospital coverage rate is the proportion of the population who have hospital cover private health insurance. People with hospital cover are eligible for the Private Health Insurance Rebate (also known as the Federal Government 30 per cent Rebate) and do not have to pay the Medicare Levy Surcharge (payable by people earning above a certain income who do not have hospital cover).
Other data available include the amount of benefits paid; state level data are also available.
- Private Health Insurance Administration Council, Operations of the private health insurers: annual report