Annual Medicare Statistics

The Annual Medicare Statistics contains data relating to Medicare for Financial Year 1984-85 onwards

Page last updated: 21 August 2017

Public Release of Medicare Statistics:
2016-17 Financial Year Bulk Billing Rates

More GP attendances and more benefits paid: In 2016-17, patients accessed 148.8 million GP services, at a cost in Medicare benefits of $7.5 billion. This compares to 145.1 million services in 2015-16 at a cost of $7.2 billion in Medicare benefits. This is an increase of 2.7% 1 in service volumes and an increase in benefits of 4.1% 1 compared to 2015-16.

More Medicare Services overall: The volume of total Medicare services in 2016-17, was 394.3 million services, at a cost of $22.0 billion in Medicare benefits. This compares to 384.0 million services in 2015-16, at a cost of $21.1 billion in Medicare benefits. This is an increase of 2.8% 1 in service volumes and an increase in benefits of 4.4% 1 compared to 2015-16.

Patients are receiving more Medicare services that are fully subsidised: In 2016-17, patients received 308.6 million bulk billed Medicare services compared to 300.5 million in 2015-16. This represents an additional 8.2 million fully subsidised Medicare services compared to 2015-16.

Rate of bulk billing for GP attendances continuing to increase: In 2016-17, the bulk billing rate for GP general attendance services was 85.7%. This is an increase compared to 2015-16, when the bulk billing rate was 85.1%.

Rate of bulk billing for total Medicare services was 78.2% in 2015-6 and 78.3% in 2016-17.

More in-hospital pathology services at a lower bulk billing rate: In-hospital pathology services grew from 14.5 million services in 2015-16 to 15.8 million services in 2016-17. The bulk billing rate for these services fell from 1.7% in 2015-16 to 1.4% in 2016-17.
  • In-hospital pathology services provided to private patients that attract a private health insurance benefit are not considered bulk billed services even if there is no immediate out of pocket cost at point of service.
Bulk billing for out-of-hospital pathology continues to grow: In 2016-17, out-of-hospital pathology services had a bulk billing rate of 99.1% compared to a bulk billing rate of 99.0% in 2015-16.
  • For all pathology services the bulk billing rate in 2016-17 was 87.8%, down slightly from 2015-16 when the rate was 88.4%
Bulk billing rate for diagnostic imaging was 77.4% in 2016-17. This is a slight increase compared to 2015-16 where the bulk billing rate was 77.3%.

Explanatory notes on the data:
  • Medicare services refer to services funded through the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS).
  • Bulk billing is reported on a year-to-date (YTD) basis over the course of the financial year. The bulk billing rate is calculated, then rounded to one decimal point for reporting purposes.
  • The latest bulk billing figures for the 2016-17 financial year are for the July 2016 to June 2017 period.
  • Reporting figures on a YTD basis allows for comparisons between the same periods between financial years and allows seasonal variations to be taken into account (for example higher patient use of medical services in winter compared to summer).
  • Bulk billing data is also reported for individual quarters.
  • Bulk billing data is reported for:
    • All MBS services, by state/territory and remoteness area for 16 Broad Type of Service (BTOS) categories. Each BTOS category typically comprises a set of related MBS group of items.
    • For example, bulk billing data is available for GP and specialist attendances, pathology, diagnostic imaging, practice nurses and allied health services.

1Adjusted for the number of working days in the period


Annual Medicare Statistics – Financial Year 1984-85 to 2016-17 (Excel 2167 KB)

The Department of Health and Ageing has made every effort to ensure that the Microsoft Excel version of the above documents meets accessibility requirements. If you are experiencing difficulty accessing the information contained within this document, please email the MBS Statistic inbox to arrange for an alternative format to be provided to you.