Bulk Billing and the use of GP services


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Content type
Family Matters article

March 1996


Since the introduction of Medicare in early 1984, there has been an increase in both the proportion of all general practitioner (GP) services that are bulk billed and the number of GP visits made by patients. This has lead to a contentious debate about whether or not bulk billing encourages people to visit their doctor for trivial reasons. This analysis focuses on parents living in the nine urban areas of the Australian Living Standards Study (ALSS) conducted by the Australian Institute of Family Studies. The article examines the relationship between frequency of parents' visits to their GP and residential location, payment arrangements (bulk billing or not), and other factors which may affect both service use and parents who visited their doctor more frequently or less frequently than their health status would appear to predict, and the factors linked with such high or low use.

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