3.2.1 Bulk billing
Almost nine in 10 (87.5%) of all general practice services were provided with no out-of-pocket cost to patients (ie were bulk billed) in 2019–20.1 The bulk-billing rate was higher for new telehealth items introduced in response to COVID-19 – 99.1% of telephone consultations and 97.5% of video consultations in general practices were bulk billed.1
While these figures provide an indication of total bulk-billed services in Australia over this period, they do not represent the number of patients who are bulk billed for all of their general practice care.
Patients may receive a number of services during a single visit to a GP, with some of these services bulk billed and others privately billed. Therefore, the proportion of patients bulk billed (and who therefore face no out-of-pocket costs for general practice care) is lower.
In 2018–19, while 86% of GP services were bulk billed, nationally only 66% of patients had all of their GP services bulk billed (Figure 35).