Changes in Australia’s public healthcare system will see patients paying more to visit a doctor and the government saving billions of dollars, BBC News reported.
Under the new Medicare rebate system, due to take effect from Jan. 19, people will pay an extra A$20.10 (US$16) to see a doctor for a short consultation.
The increase was brought in two days before Christmas with no official announcement but has only just been picked up by the Australian media, the report said.
Medicare has been paying A$37.05 for short visits to a general practitioner, lasting under 10 minutes, made by millions of patients every year. It will now pay A$16.95.
The government plans an additional A$5 cut to GP rebates from July 1. The Medicare rebate has been frozen for nearly six years, although adjustments have been made for inflation.
The changes to consultations under 10 minutes were designed to better reflect the time doctors spend with their patients, and to encourage longer GP consultations with patients for better results, a spokesman for Health Minister Sussan Ley said.
About 15 million people aged 15 years and above see a GP at least once a year, official data showed.
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