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Table 10 Paying for general practice services

From: What matters to people with chronic conditions when accessing care in Australian general practice? A qualitative study of patient, carer, and provider perspectives

Topic Themes and examples
Provider or practice’s bulk-billing policies Bulk-billing on a need basis
Q1 “I bulk bill anybody who has a pension card or any children, and I also bulk bill people, at my own discretion, who I think probably don’t really have enough money to see me or the working poor, I suppose, but to some extent that’s my own discretion. The reality is, despite being a private billing practice, I probably bulk bill about 75% or 80% of my consultations. So cost of seeing me isn’t probably a huge barrier for many people […]” (GP 3 CES)
Q2 “I mean one thing I will say is they at least they charge most of their clientele for their services over and above the Medicare rebate or in my case and my wife’s case they don’t. They bulk bill us. I mean that is a significant help to the two of us […] When they did change the [bulk billing] system we had to go and explain to them […] “We can’t live with that increase in fees because it’s too much for us.” So, they said, “Right. Okay.” So far they are just bulk billing us.” (Patient 1 SWS)
Q3 “The practice offers bulk billing if you have a pensioner concession card, but otherwise, no. I know my GP has.” (Carer 2 NBM)
Bulk-billing at specific hours
Q4 “Twice a week he bulk bills for two and a half hours, and it’s generally a lot busier at those times […] So, if it’s bulk billing you don’t book. You just turn up and it’s in order of when you come.” (Patient 1a SWS)
Q5 “He bulk bills during the day and then in the evenings after 5:00 you pay a fee and then on a Saturday you also pay a fee so there’s bulk billing times and then times where you pay.” (Patient 3 CES)
Patient’s personal circumstance Financial repercussions of caregiving
Q6 “I’ve had to give up work to care for [my husband], and there’s no payment to support me in that […] We’ve gone from dual income […] to this very, very limited income. It’s $65 to see the GP for a standard consult, and a double consult, which we have to have is $95. Having to pay that is a lot of money. It’s just very frustrating, because you know you need the care, but you have to weigh up what you’re going to live without to be able to afford this visit. I find the financials of it very, very difficult […]” (Carer 2 NBM)