Important Disclosure

Our mission at ComparingExpert is to provide our users with free information and tools that empowers you to make decisions with confidence. We may be paid when readers visit links, purchase products or services from partners listed on this site.

You do not pay any extra for using our service.

While compensation arrangements may affect the order, position or placement of product information, it doesn’t influence our assessment of those products.

Please don’t interpret the order in which products appear on our site as any endorsement or recommendation from us. compares a select range of products, providers and services, but we don’t provide comparisons or information on all available products, providers or services. There may be other options available to you than the products, providers or services covered by our service.

or call 1300 795 560 to speak with a specialist

What is Bulk Billing in Australia and How Does it Work?

Megan Fraser Fact Checked Updated: 27 November 2023
Types of Health Insurance

If you’re enrolled in Australia’s Medicare scheme and have a Medicare card, you might be eligible for bulk billing, meaning you might not have to pay any fees for the appointment or service provided by a healthcare practitioner that bulk bills. However, this depends on whether the medical professional accepts bulk billing or does private billing.

Bulk-billing covers a wide range of healthcare services, including general practitioner visits, specialist consultations, diagnostic tests, and some allied health services. It plays a crucial role in promoting equitable healthcare access across the country, particularly for vulnerable populations and those with limited financial resources.

Compare Health Insurance Quotes

Please select your state
Please select your health cover

What is Medicare bulk billing?

If your doctor bulk bills, it means they send your bill directly to Medicare and accepts the Medicare Benefit Schedule (MBS) fee for the service provided. By doing this, your doctor gets 85% to 100% of the MBS fee directly from Medicare. Bulk billing doctors do not have to deal with billing or debt collecting and you, as the patient, pay little or nothing for the service they provide.

The Medicare Benefit Schedule (MBS) is a document published by the Australian government, listing the baseline pricing for medical services they subsidize. Bulk billing can be defined as your doctor billing Medicare directly and accepting the MBS fee as full payment for their service. Thus, if bulk billed the cost of your Doctor’s visit and the service provided could be entirely covered by Medicare, so you have no out-of-pocket expenses.

When visiting a medical professional who does not offer this option, you’ll generally need to make payment upfront and then claim the full or partial amount back from Medicare if the service is listed on the Medicare Benefit Schedule and you’re a Medicare cardholder.

Medicare may not cover everything or everyone:

medical bulk billing

How does bulk billing work?

If your health professional does implement bulk billed payments, they’ll generally ask you to sign a form after your appointment, of which you’ll receive a copy. This form assigns your Medicare benefit to the health professional so that it can be paid to them. When bulk billed, your medical professional can’t charge you a co-payment or additional fee, they must accept the Medicare benefit as full payment.

The only exception is when the doctor gives you a vaccine form their own supply held at their premises, which is not available free of charge through Commonwealth or state funding arrangements or the PBS (Pharmaceutical Benefit Scheme).

Because medical professionals are free to set their own pricing, they might charge you more than what the Medicare benefit pays, in this case, you can usually claim that part of the bill back from Medicare as a rebate if the services are listed on the MBS.

Medicare bulk billing rates vary across regions

Bulk billing is generally more prominent in areas with significant levels of socioeconomic disadvantages, like Western Sydney, where the need for free or subsidised medical practitioners and services are high.

Greater price competitions in regions with a high density of health care practitioners, for example in a metropolitan area, might also result in higher rates of bulk bill.

Private health insurance might cover health services not listed on the MBS

Medicare generally does not cover the costs of:

You might want to consider getting private health insurance to help pay for treatments and services not covered by Medicare bulk billing. Shop around and gather quotes for some of Australia’s leading health insurers before making a decision.

Frequently asked questions

  • How to find bulk billing medical professionals

    A medical professional can decide whether they want to bulk bill or not. You can use the 1800 Bulk Bill website to help you find Medicare bulk billed practices near you or use the HealthEngine website, which allows Australians patients find and book appointments with bulk billing GPs.

    Alternatively, contact the doctor’s offices directly and ask them whether they offer the option before making an appointment.
  • Why don’t all doctors bulk bill?

    Bulk billing in Australia is not mandatory and being a concession card holder does not automatically mean you’ll be bulk billed. Medical practitioners can decide whether they want to bulk bill or privately bill a patient. Generally, health professionals that choose not to participate in bulk billing do so because the Medicare benefit might not be an appropriate remuneration for the services they provide.

    Smaller practices, with one or two health professionals, might be more inclined to offer bulk billing because they might have less capacity to compete on the basis of service offerings and might choose to instead differentiate themselves by providing increased bulk billing rates.
  • What’s the difference between private billing vs bulk billing

    Private billing generally involves a mix of Medicare contributions and private health insurance payments for patients that are issued an account by non-bulk billing doctors, which you must usually pay upfront and can then claim rebates from Medicare and your private health fund. Whereas with bulk billing, patients do not need to pay anything upfront, the doctor simply sends your bill to Medicare who pays the medical professional directly.

Health Insurance Quotes

  • Reduce out-of-pocket expenses
  • Keep your family healthy
  • Easy and convenient
  • Free to use

Want to talk to a specialist? Call 1300 795 560

Other topics

Thanks for reaching out!

We will review your comment and get back to you as soon as possible. If your inquiry is urgent, please use the phone number listed at the top of this page.

Talk to you soon.

Have a question? Ask a specialist.

Did you know we also compare Life Insurance?

Get life insurance quotes online in under 60 seconds. Compare the features and benefits from some of the largest life insurance companies in Australia.

  • Protect Your Loved Ones
  • Save Time & Money
  • Support at Every Stage
To receive great value when comparing premiums and policy features from select insurance brands, please provide us with a few details about yourself in the quote form below.
Please select your level of cover
Please select your age
Please select your gender
Please select your smoking status
Please select your state

Almost done...

We just need a few more details about you, so that we can help you find the right cover for your requirements.
Please enter your full name, ie. John Smith
Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid mobile number

By clicking ‘Compare & Save Now’, you are accepting our Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and consenting to us contacting you about the products and services provided. Please consider the PDS before purchasing any products.

Call 1300 743 254

Thank you!

We’ll be in touch soon to ensure that we have all the information needed to create a quote specific to your unique requirements.