The price of privately billed GP appointments is set to increase to more than $100 next month, as the Australian Medical Association (AMA) announced an update to its industry fee guide.
The change will come into effect when the Consumer Price Index (CPI) is adjusted to reflect inflation, in hopes of keeping struggling healthcare practices from going under.
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The AMA fee guide currently advises practitioners to charge $98 for a non-bulk-billed standard session with a GP, but that’s about to change.
When the CPI measures the rise of inflation again on November 1, the peak body will advise doctors in Australia to hike their fees by 4.57 per cent in 2023-24.
The advised price of a standard session — which usually spans about 15 minutes — will increase to $102.
“In addition to the AMA’s regular annual indexation on 1 November each year, it did apply a small additional indexation in March 2023 to all fee items,” an AMA spokesperson told 7NEWS.com.au.
“This was to address rapidly increasing costs facing medical practices with the spike in the CPI, which were not addressed by the AMA’s previous indexation.”
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The Medicare rebate will also increase next month, but 7NEWS understands an additional 20c is all that will be shaved from the bill.
AMA Vice President Dr Danielle McMullen told 7NEWS that with the Medicare rebate, the full fee for a session “is about $60 out of pocket.”
But despite the AMA’s fee guide, GP fees can still vary from practice to practice.
One woman told 7NEWS she was already being charged $115 for a standard consultation.
The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) Vice President Dr Bruce Willett told 7NEWS that practices were struggling to remain profitable, while still bulk-billing patients in need where they can.
He said at least 184 practices have closed their doors in the last year as a result.
“To stay viable, practices are going to have to look to their fees,” he said
For penny-pinching patients, one woman told 7NEWS, it’s enough to make them “start having to think about whether you actually need the consultation or not”.
The increases come amid the roll-out of MyMedicare, which offers larger rebates on longer consultations, along with a large range of health benefits, for eligible Australians.
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