Bulk Billing Podiatrist

Bulk billing for podiatry services in Australia refers to the practice where the healthcare provider bills Medicare directly for their services, rather than charging the patient upfront. This means that eligible patients can receive podiatry services without having to pay out-of-pocket expenses at the time of their appointment. However, it’s important to note that not all podiatrists offer bulk billing, particularly private podiatry clinics and eligibility criteria may vary.

Please note that Highett Podiatry is not a bulk billing clinic, although we do accept Medicare Care Plans from your GP that entitle you to a medicare rebate. This rebate can be claimed at the time of your appointment and the rebate should be back into your account by the next day.

WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF PRIVATE PODIATRY CLINICS? 

Seeing a private podiatrist, as opposed to a public or government-funded podiatrist, offers several advantages:

Shorter Wait Times

Private podiatrists often have shorter waiting lists compared to public services. This means you can typically get an appointment sooner, which can be crucial if you’re experiencing acute foot problems.

Extended Appointment Times: Private podiatrists may allocate more time for each appointment, allowing for a thorough assessment, diagnosis, and treatment plan. This personalised attention can lead to better outcomes for your foot health.

Choice of Practitioner

In the private sector, you have the freedom to choose your podiatrist based on factors such as specialisation, reputation, location, and personal preference.

Access to Advanced Technologies

Private podiatry practices often invest in advanced equipment and technologies to enhance diagnosis and treatment options. These may include laser therapy, advanced gait analysis systems, custom orthotics, and more.

Continuity of Care

Private podiatrists often prioritise continuity of care, meaning you’re more likely to see the same practitioner for follow-up appointments. This allows for better monitoring of your progress and adjustments to your treatment plan as needed.

Flexible Appointment Scheduling

Private practices may offer greater flexibility in appointment scheduling, including evening or early morning appointments to accommodate busy lifestyles.

Insurance Coverage Options

While private podiatry services may involve out-of-pocket expenses, many private health insurance plans offer coverage for podiatry treatments.

ENHANCED PRIMARY CARE PLANS (EPCs)

In Australia, Medicare offers Enhanced Primary Care (EPC) plans, also known as Chronic Disease Management (CDM) plans, to help manage the healthcare needs of patients with chronic conditions, including those requiring podiatry services. Here’s how it works:

  • EPC Plans: EPC plans are developed by your general practitioner (GP) in collaboration with you to coordinate the management of your chronic condition. These plans aim to provide a multidisciplinary approach to care, including services from allied health professionals such as podiatrists.
  • Podiatry Services Covered: Under an EPC plan, you may be eligible to receive Medicare rebates for up to five podiatry visits per calendar year. These visits are intended to help manage chronic foot conditions such as diabetes-related foot complications, arthritis, chronic foot pain, and other conditions.
  • Referral Requirement: To access Medicare rebates for podiatry services under an EPC plan, you must first obtain a referral from your GP. The referral outlines the specific services required and may include details about the number of sessions authorised.

Medicare Rebates: Once you’ve received podiatry services as part of your EPC plan, you can claim Medicare rebates for a portion of the cost. The rebate amount is typically a percentage of the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) fee for each consultation.

Out-of-Pocket Costs: While Medicare rebates help offset the cost of podiatry services, there may still be out-of-pocket expenses, particularly if your podiatrist charges above the MBS fee.

  • Eligibility Criteria: To be eligible for an EPC plan and Medicare rebates for podiatry services, you must have a chronic or complex medical condition that requires ongoing management. Your GP will assess your eligibility based on specific criteria outlined by Medicare.
  • Coordination of Care: EPC plans encourage collaboration between your GP and allied health professionals like podiatrists to ensure coordinated and comprehensive care for your chronic condition. This may involve regular reviews of your treatment plan and adjustments as needed.

It’s essential to consult with your GP to determine whether you’re eligible for an EPC plan and to discuss your specific healthcare needs. Your GP can provide further guidance on accessing Medicare rebates for podiatry services and help you navigate the process of managing your chronic condition effectively.

Other billing options which may be available to you at Highett Podiatry, are through Home Care Packages (My Aged Care), NDIS (through Plan Managers or Support Co-ordinators), TAC, Workcover or DVA. Private clinics can also refer onto Community Health providers should the need arise; ie high risk wound care patients and to public hospital clinics.