An increased number of Australians are attending General Practitioner (GP) appointments without reaching into their pockets, with GP bulk billing rates in New South Wales under Medicare hitting a record high of 88.9 per cent for the full year of 2018-19.
Nationally, a GP bulk billing rate of 86.2 per cent saw a four percentage point increase on the 2012-13 figure.
Patients made 136.5 million bulk billed GP visits in 2018-19, up 3.3 million on the previous financial year.
The national bulk billing rate for total Medicare services reached 79.2 per cent for 2018-19, up 0.2 percentage points compared to the previous year, and up 2.7 percentage points from 76.5 per cent in 2012-13.
Australians accessed 335.8 million bulk billed services including GP, specialist, pathology and diagnostic imaging services in 2018–19, up 8.9 million more than the record set last year.
The total cost of all Medicare services in 2018-19 was $24.1 billion, an increase of 3.5 per cent in benefits paid.