You seem to have the option of going to a 'normal' doctor, or one that bulk bills. One charges a lot and you get a refund from Medicare, the other seems 'free'? What's the difference, and do you have to pay bulk billing doctors for anything?

1 Answer 1


When there's no bulk billing, you'll have to pay the fees yourself and you'll later get a rebate of 85% (usually) from Medicare.

When a health practitioner offers bulk billing, it means that they'll send the bill directly to Medicare, and Medicare will pay the full bill for you. In this case, you won't have to pay anything. Essentially, this means that the health practitioner agrees with Medicare to accept 85% of the schedule fee in full payment for their services.

Of course, this only applies if you hold Medicare cover (which is not usually the case when you're on a temporary visa).

  • 1
    On the medicare cover thing, it depends where you've come from. There are reciprocal healthcare agreements with various countries, so you might be covered for a short while based on your previous country
    – Gagravarr
    Mar 13, 2014 at 11:11
  • There are changes that are being implemented this year that complicate bulk billing a bit, however. We'll see how that effects the system in July. Otherwise Xavier did a great job of explaining it.
    – user6458
    Apr 23, 2015 at 20:56

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