Brisbane Podiatrist Accepts Medicare and Bulk Billing
Updated: Oct 3
Do you need podiatry services in Brisbane? Could you benefit from financial assistance for your treatment? It’s time to consider Medicare and Australia’s bulk billing system.
Bulk billing in Australia allows individuals with a valid referral from their general practitioner (GP) to receive healthcare services (including podiatry services) without being responsible for any out-of-pocket costs. This is possible because the government reimburses the podiatrist directly.
In this article, we discuss Medicare and bulk billing, how these payment systems function, and how they facilitate cost-effective access to top-notch care at our podiatry clinic.
Medicare and Bulk Billing in Podiatry
Medicare is a publicly funded, universal healthcare scheme in Australia. It provides individuals with coverage for an extensive array of healthcare services, with podiatry being one of them. Over the years, Medicare has increased access to foot and lower limb care as it covers some of the costs related to podiatry.
How Does Medicare Work?
To start with, you must arrange a GP consultation and get a valid referral. The GP determines whether you need the expertise of an allied health professional, and the referral will detail the specific healthcare and treatment that you need. If you have any chronic medical conditions, your GP may also detail how allied health services would be beneficial to your situation.
After securing your referral, you can book consultations with podiatrists in Indooroopilly who accept Medicare and your costs will be covered. However, when you book an appointment, you should check whether your specific treatment is covered as Medicare and bulk billing do not support all podiatry treatments.
What is Bulk Billing?
Bulk billing is a payment model where healthcare providers bill Medicare directly for the services rendered to patients, thereby eliminating any personal or out-of-pocket expenses for the patient. When a healthcare professional opts to bulk bill, the patient gives consent to swipe their Medicare card, and the allied health practitioner receives a fixed fee for their services. This arrangement allows patients to receive personalised podiatric services at reduced rates and with increased convenience.
How Does Bulk Billing Work for Podiatry Services?
Services Australia indicates that podiatrists (item 10962) are able to claim Medicare benefits for eligible patients. To be eligible, the allied health practitioner (in this instance, the qualified podiatrist) is expected to engage in a one-to-one, face-to-face consultation with the patient for at least 20 minutes. Home visits, group treatments, and telehealth or remote/video consultations are not typically covered by Medicare.
Patients qualify for bulk billing during all operating hours if they have a general practitioner management plan (GPMP), or Enhanced Primary Care plan (EPC). The EPC plan details the number of sessions that Medicare covers, which is generally five appointments per calendar year.
These five appointments include both podiatry and physiotherapy, so you could opt for four podiatry and one physiotherapy session per year, or five podiatry sessions, and so on. Remember, the actual number of sessions you’ll need depends on your personal circumstances and healthcare requirements.
With your eligible Medicare referral, your podiatrist will verify and confirm your eligibility through Australia’s Health Professional Online Services’ (HPOS) Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) online checker.
Finally, your podiatrist accepts the Medicare rebate as the complete payment for their services, which means no gap fees or costs for the patient. However, note that bulk billing typically covers general treatments and consultations, whereas specialised services or treatments might still entail some personal costs.
Do I need a concession card?
No, you don’t. Unlike other podiatry clinics, our patients are not required to hold a valid concession card or Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) card to be eligible for bulk billing. An EPC plan referral from your GP is sufficient to qualify for bulk billing.
Examples of Bulk Billed Podiatry Services in Melbourne
Podiatrists diagnose, manage, and treat a variety of lower limb and foot conditions. Below are some of the podiatry services that may be covered under bulk billing:
General foot care: This would include addressing common foot issues such as calluses, corns, ingrown toenails, and cracked heels.
Diabetic foot care: Podiatrists play an instrumental role in managing foot complications that can surface in patients with diabetes. This includes routine check-ups, wound care, and instruction on proper foot care and chronic disease management plans to prevent additional problems.
Biomechanical assessments: These assessments are crucial for patients with foot, ankle, knee, or hip pain. They help to determine any structural or functional issues that may be contributing to the pain and instruct the formulation of individualised treatment plans.
Gait analysis: Gait analysis involves assessing a person's walking or running patterns. This can help pinpoint abnormalities that may require intervention, such as orthotics or specific exercises.
Orthotics prescription: Custom-made orthotic devices can assist patients with diverse foot issues by providing support, alleviating pain, or improving mobility.
Medicare and Bulk Billing Benefits
There are several advantages to choosing a bulk billing podiatrist in Melbourne:
Cost savings: By accepting the Medicare rebate as full payment, bulk billing podiatrists offer accessible treatment options with minimal or no out-of-pocket expenses, making essential foot care more affordable for patients.
Simple billing process: With bulk billing, the podiatrist directly bills Medicare, requiring no upfront payment from the patient or the need to claim a rebate later.
Quick access to care: Patients can access essential podiatry care without delays, as Medicare’s bulk billing system streamlines the payment process.
Ongoing care: Bulk billing allows patients with chronic conditions or limited financial means to maintain regular visits to their podiatrist, ensuring ongoing care and management of their foot and lower limb health.
At Align Health Collective in Brisbane, QLD, we understand how bulk billing and Medicare can help you with your overall standard of living, which is why we are dedicated to providing our patients with efficient, stress-free payment processing.
We offer a range of effective podiatry treatment plans, each of which is personalised and tailored to suit your individual needs. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and take the first step towards For those located in Melbourne.
Frequently Asked Questions
What do Medicare bulk billed podiatry appointments include?
A Medicare bulk billed podiatry appointment will generally include an initial consultation, diagnosis, and treatment plan developed by the podiatrist and other relevant specialists in the foot clinic. In most cases, the consultation comprises a comprehensive assessment, in which the podiatrist examines your feet, nails, and any concerns you might have.
Following the assessment, the podiatrist will determine an appropriate treatment plan for your specific needs. This plan might involve one or multiple visits to help address and manage your condition. Remember, not all podiatry treatments and services are covered under Medicare, so it is essential to consult with your podiatrist about your options.
How are bulk billed and standard appointments different?
The primary difference between a bulk billed and a standard appointment is in how the payment is processed. In a bulk billed appointment, the podiatrist charges the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) fee for the consultation, and Medicare covers the entire cost. As a result, bulk billed appointments leave you with no out-of-pocket expenses.
On the other hand, during a standard appointment, the podiatrist may charge a fee above the Medicare rebate amount, and you will be responsible for paying the difference. This difference, known as the “gap,” varies depending on factors such as the specific podiatrist or clinic and the service provided.
How much is the Medicare rebate for podiatry?
The Medicare rebate amount varies based on the type of service provided to you. To find out about the exact rebate amount you are entitled to, you should contact Medicare or check their website.
Does Medicare cover the full cost of podiatry appointments?
While Medicare offers coverage for many podiatry services, it may not always cover the full fee for the appointment. The amount reimbursed to the podiatrist by Medicare is determined by the MBS fee for the specific service provided.
In some cases, podiatrists may charge more than the MBS fee, leading to a gap payment that the patient would need to cover. However, many Medicare-accepted podiatrists opt for bulk billing, effectively covering the entire cost of the podiatry visit without out-of-pocket expenses for the patient.