In recent years, we have seen Government making arbitrary cuts to Medicare rebates by either poor or no Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) indexation, cutting the amount of existing Medicare rebates, withdrawing MBS funding of certain medical services and capping some Extended Medicare Safety Net benefits. At the same time, the costs of running a medical practice are increasing. Many practices are having to increase their fees to meet these costs. A template letter has been prepared for medical practitioners to provide to patients to inform them about why the medical practice has had to increase its fee and why out-of-pocket costs for patients are increasing. To download the template letter to patients about increased medical fees please click here.
Template Letter to Patients About Increased Medical Fees
Today Medicare rebates do not cover the full cost of providing you with medical care. This is because the rate at which successive governments have indexed the Medicare Schedule fees has been substantially lower than increases in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and average weekly earnings.
The reality is that Medicare rebates do not cover the cost of providing you with a safe and high quality service. The fees charged by this practice have to cover all of our practice costs including employing receptionists and practice nurses, and meeting our operating expenses such as rent, medical equipment, electricity, computers and insurance.
The Government has announced it will not be indexing the Medicare Schedule fees this year. Medicare rebates have been frozen since [For GPs insert: 1 July 2014 and for specialists insert: 1 November 2012] and will not be increased until 2020.
[For radiology and pathology specialists insert: Medicare rebates for pathology/diagnostic imaging services have not increased for more than 15 years.]
It is not possible for this practice to meet our running costs each year without increasing our fees. The Medicare rebate freeze means that this practice is no longer able to bulk bill all of our patients.
From [insert date] our practice will be charging you the following fees for our most common services: [insert your list of services and fees, including the Medicare rebate].
If you have extenuating circumstances please discuss these with your treating medical practitioner.
If you wish to let the Government know that the Medicare rebate is insufficient to assist you in meeting the cost of your medical care, please contact your local Member of Parliament at http://www.aph.gov.au/Senators_and_Members/Members and/or the Minister for Health