Melbourne Podiatrist Accepts Medicare and Bulk Billing
Updated: Sep 6
Are you looking for podiatry services in Melbourne? Are you concerned about the cost of treatment? Well, perhaps it’s time to consider Australia’s bulk billing options.
Bulk billing in Australia is a system where patients who have a valid referral from a general practitioner can receive podiatry services without incurring out-of-pocket expenses. This is because the podiatrist sends the bill directly to the government for payment, eliminating any cost to the patient.
In this article, we explore Medicare and bulk billing, as well as how these payment options work and how you can save money while still receiving high-quality care at our Melbourne podiatry clinic.
Understanding Bulk Billing and Medicare in Podiatry
Medicare, a publicly funded universal healthcare system in Australia, covers a wide range of healthcare services, including podiatry. It offers support for some of the costs associated with podiatry services, making podiatrists more accessible to Australians who need foot and lower limb care.
How Medicare Works in Podiatry
First, you’ll need to consult your GP and get a referral. Your GP will decide if you require treatment from an allied health practitioner. The referral will include which services you need, and if you have a chronic condition, your GP may also include how you would benefit from allied health services.
Once you have your referral, you can schedule appointments with Medicare-accepted podiatrists and receive coverage for their services. However, it's essential to understand that not all podiatry treatments are covered under Medicare, so it's vital to ask about Medicare and bulk billing coverage when you book your appointment.
What is Bulk Billing?
Bulk billing is a payment system in which service providers directly bill Medicare for the services they provide to patients, avoiding any out-of-pocket expenses for the patient.
When a healthcare professional bulk bills, the patient consents to have their Medicare card swiped, and the provider receives a fixed fee for the service. Bulk billing allows patients to access podiatry services tailored to their specific needs while minimising costs and maximising convenience.
How Does Bulk Billing Work for Podiatry?
Services Australia specifies that podiatrists (item 10962) can claim Medicare benefits for eligible patients. To claim, the allied health practitioner, in this case the qualified podiatrist, is expected to consult with the eligible patient one-to-one and in person for at least 20 minutes. Group treatment and virtual or telehealth consultations are not usually covered.
Patients are eligible to be bulk billed, during all hours of operation, if they are on a general practitioner management plan (GPMP), also referred to as Enhanced Primary Care plan (EPC). This plan outlines the number of sessions permitted under Medicare, which is usually up to five appointments per calendar year.
These five appointments cover both podiatry and physiotherapy, so you would be covered for three podiatry and two physiotherapy visits per year, or five podiatry visits, and so forth. Keep in mind, though, that the actual number of sessions will depend on your individual circumstances and healthcare needs.
Your podiatrist Oakleigh accepts the Medicare rebate as full payment for their services, meaning no gap fees or out-of-pocket expenses for the patient. It’s important to note that bulk billing usually covers general treatments and consultations, while more specialised services or treatments may still involve out-of-pocket costs.
Your podiatrist will check and confirm your eligibility through Australia’s Health Professional Online Services’ (HPOS) Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) online checker.
Do I need a concession card?
No concession card? No worries. In contrast to other podiatry clinics, our patients do not need a valid concession card or Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) card to be eligible for bulk billing. The EPC plan referral from your GP is enough to be eligible for bulk billing.
Examples of Bulk Billed Podiatry Services in Melbourne
Podiatrists can diagnose, treat, and manage a wide range of foot and lower limb conditions. Here are some examples of services that a Melbourne podiatrist may offer under bulk billing:
General foot care: This includes treating common foot problems such as ingrown toenails, calluses, corns, and cracked heels.
Diabetic foot care: Podiatrists play a crucial role in managing foot complications that can arise in patients with diabetes. This includes regular check-ups, wound care, and education on proper foot care and chronic disease management to prevent further issues.
Biomechanical assessments: These evaluations are essential for patients experiencing foot, ankle, knee, or hip pain. They help identify any structural or functional issues contributing to the pain and guide the development of customised treatment plans.
Gait analysis: Gait analysis involves assessing how a person walks or runs. This can assist in identifying abnormalities that may require intervention, such as orthotics or specific exercises.
Orthotics prescription: Custom-made orthotic devices can help patients with various foot issues by providing support, reducing 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 Melbourne, VIC, 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 Kew 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 healing.
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 appointment without out-of-pocket expenses for the patient.