Budget 2014-15: Medicare Benefits Schedule – introducing patient contributions for general practitioner, pathology and diagnostic imaging services

Important Update: This measure is subject to the passage of legislation.

Description of the measure

On 9 December 2014, the Prime Minister announced that the original Medicare Benefits Schedule – introducing patient contributions for general practitioner, pathology and diagnostic imaging services 2014-15 Budget measure, would no longer proceed.

A new optional co-payment with additional protections will be implemented. Concessional patients, including children under 16 and veterans eligible for services funded through the Department of Veterans’ Affairs will be exempt. GP services provided for attendances at residential aged care facilities, health assessments, GP mental health plans or GP management plans will also be excluded from the co-payment.

The new co-payment will introduce a $5 optional co-payment that may be charged to non-concessional patients. Charging of the $5 co-payment will be at the GP’s discretion.

The Medicare Benefit for GP services provided to non-concessional patients will also be reduced by $5. These changes will be effective from 1 July 2015.

Changes to GP Level A and B consultation items will also be introduced. Level A consultations, which are currently untimed will cover attendances less than 10 minutes, and the Level B consultation items, will cover attendances between 10 to 20 minutes. This change will come into effect from 19 January 2015.

For more information about these changes, go to the Department of Health website