Are you looking for a physiotherapist but not sure if they bulk bill? Keep reading to learn what bulk billing physio is and whether it is the right choice for you
Bulk Billing is when a clinic charges the Medicare schedule fee for a service and the patient pays nothing out of pocket.
The advantage of bulk billing is that it saves patients money. However, not all clinics offer this service, and may not be the most suitable choice for everyone.
Some clinics charge a gap, which means that the patient will be responsible for paying the difference between the Medicare schedule fee and the clinician’s fee. The amount of the gap can vary depending on the clinician and the type of service provided.
If you’re considering seeing a physiotherapist, be sure to ask about their billing practices so that you know what to expect. Now that you know a little bit more about bulk billing physio, here are some of the pros and cons of each.
Why some physio clinics don’t Bulk Bill
As we mentioned earlier, not all clinics bulk bill. Why is that? Below, we will explain the reasons for not bulk billing to help you make an informed choice when choosing a physio.
Reason Number 1: Appointment Durations and Dual-Servicing
One of the main reasons is that bulk billing often means appointment duration will be shorter to make the service viable for a business. A bulk-billed session covers $56 for a physio consult.
If a business was to offer Bulk Billed 1-hour initial consultations, it would be hard-pressed to make this sustainable unless their physios were seriously underpaid.
Often, bulk billing physio clinics will offer shorter consultation times to make this viable. They may also be ‘dual-servicing’ or treating multiple patients at the same time.
Reason Number 2: Evidence-Based Physiotherapy Practice
Current evidence in physiotherapy shows that the most important factors in recovery are more to do with education, communication and exercise.
Shorter appointment times can make it more difficult to provide adequate explanation of what your condition is, what caused it and what you can do to recover.
Dual-servicing most commonly involves the use of passive therapies such as heat packs, electrotherapies and ice. The physiotherapist may be applying these therapies to 2-3 patients at a time making it difficult to provide education and prescribe the appropriate exercises for you to gain better control over your condition.
Reason Number 3: Flexible Appointment Times and Choice of Physio
Finally, some clinics may choose to offer bulk billing on certain days only, or during specific hours. This could mean that you have to plan ahead and book an appointment accordingly if you want to take advantage of bulk billing. You will also often be limited to seeing a select number of physio’s who are likely to have less experience or (in some cases) be physiotherapy students.
Making a choice between Bulk Billed or Non Bulk Billed Physio
When making your choice, if you are mostly concerned with keeping costs to a minimum – you may wish to consider a Bulk Billing physiotherapist.
Alternatively, if you are more concerned with longer appointment times involving more evidence based therapies and 1-to-1 care, you may be better suited seeking a Non Bulk Billing physio clinic and paying a gap.
Whichever way you decide to go, be sure to ask your clinic questions about their billing practices and the services they offer. (You can use our Pricing Calculator here to get an estimate of out of pocket costs at our clinic as an example).
This will ensure that you make an informed decision and are receiving the best physio care possible for your condition.
The choice between bulk billed or non-bulk billed physio is ultimately up to you and well done to you for doing something pro-active for your health!