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Bulk Billing Doctor in Sydney


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Hi everyone,

My husband and I moved to Sydney about 2 months ago.

I am desperately looking for a good doctor that offers bulk billing.

We are on a 457 visa and we have private medical aid.

Unfortunately, I was admitted to hospital due to gallstones and pancreatitis last week.

I will have to see a GP who will be able to do some tests and send the results on to the specialist I have seen in hospital.

The medical aid here differs from the ones in SA. From what I understand, if I go see a doctor, I will have to pay the bill and submit a claim to the medical aid. The medical aid will only refund the medicare rate and we have to pay the rest.

I have found a few doctors but their fees are much more than the medicare rate and we end up being out of pocket every time.

My hospital trip ended up costing us an arm and a leg.

I would love to go see a South African doctor, but I don't know if that is too much to ask. If anyone can help me it would be much appreciated.

Jeanique Koeleman

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Hi Jeanique,

As far as I can remember from my 457 days, bulk billing will not help you. It really only works for citizens and PR people who are claiming through Medicare. I know it didn't help me in 2004 to 2005 when I was looking for any way to pinch a penny.

If someone proves me wrong, I'll be happy for you.

A bit of searching and it looks like it only applies to Medicare



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I think Oubaas is onto something there indirectly. A doctor may bulk bill, but charge non-medicare patients a different rate. Also, Bupa has a "provider network" of doctors where you don't pay any extra, but it doesn't list GPs. The majority of Bupa customers claim for their GP through Medicare and not Bupa.

But yes, a doctor that Bulk Bills may also have a lower rate for non-medicare patients.

Try "my health medical centres". http://www.myhealthmedicalcentre.com.au/

They probably won't have a south African doctor. But you can see a brief summary of each doctor online. They will tell you the name, sex and languages the doctor speaks. For example, if he speaks farsi..he is probably from the middle east. You may have to pretend to book an an appointment to see the doctors profiles.

My health medical centres are all over Sydney, they bulk bill and you can book an appointment online before you go there. Some bulk billing doctors charge extra for that.

But, I would call up which ever doctor you want to go and see and ask what their non-medicare rates are.

Edited by monsta
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Yep, from our time on a 457,

Our 457 medical only covered hospital and chronic, not doctors and medicine, i suspect you may not have any doctor cover at all.

so any doctor you see will bill you the full amount, bulk billed doctors will be cheaper (see below description of bulk billing) but will still have a higher rate for non PR people, non bulk billed doctors may not be more expensive and will be a ton better so even more benefit to not going bulk billed

If you are on PR, bulk billing means the doctor is so cheap that the amount the government pays towards doctors visits is enough to cover the appointment, (Same applies to any service that is bulk billed Eg. Blood tests)

We have tried several bulk billed doctors over the last few years and never again, you get what you pay for, they are trying to fit as many appointments into a day as they can, as a result there are long waits in the waiting room, even with an appointment as they have overbooked the available time, and you are in and out as fast as they can process you and submit their claim to the government.

The last visit to a bulk billed doctor i had a 2 hour wait past my appointment time "Because they were running late and it was a busy day"

Spend a few more bucks and you will get a good experience, to me it is well worth the extra $30 (Over and above the medicare claim) a couple of times a year for our family. - that's roughly 6 cups of coffee as a comparison

The end of our 457 we also went to a non bulk billed doctor and paid the premium to get someone who actually cares.

Edited by Nev
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Just a note that while possibly true in the main, bulk billed GP experiences can vary so might be worth still trying some. I've had mixed results.

I went to one last week. They were open on the weekend, gave me a quick appointment, had one other patient in the waiting room, a senior GP saw me after 5 minutes, and took way more time with me than I expected, including running through some medical text books with me to explain current thinking. This was in Brisbane though so possibly not the crush of people Sydney has.

And better still a pharmacy was attached to the GP through a door so I grabbed my pills and was home in no time. Not my usual GP but was more impressed than I expected to be.

Re: the GP cover on 457 I think some levels of 457 private visitors insurance do cover GP's (probably partially)...depends on the level you choose.

Edited by Fish
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It really depends, the bulk billing clinic I use is very good and I have never waited a long time. They also have nurses so they also do travel and other vaccinations.

The other day my daughter had a really bad stomach ache so I went to a new bulk billing clinic in a shopping center down the road from us as I wanted to be seen quickly. My appointment was at 9am and we were seen immediately. The doctor was worried about appendicitis and wanted to get an ultrasound, I got an emergency appointment at 10:30 and walked out of the clinic with the x-rays in my hand at 11 am. All bulk billed.

But yes unfortunately it works differently on a 457.

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I use to go to an excellent bulk billing medical centre on Victoria rd in Drummoyne. I still miss it, but too far from where I am now. My local one is the "wait for at least 1-2 hour" type, but they are lovely once you get in to see them.

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