Medical Costs?

A reader wrote:


Can you add more details for us newbies in Oz — how much do these checkups cost? Is that a public or private hospital?

How much did the checkup cost? How do people normally pay for such things? Is it from personal finances, through work medical insurance, etc?


Good questions, Vince. For the costs of a medical checkup, here is a rough guideline based off the consultation fees list for the GP I go to here in Melbourne:
Standard (30 mins) = $154.00

Of course, different doctors charge different rates. Some even allow for Bulk Billing (they have a sign outside their clinic if that’s the case). That means, if you have a Medicare card (all migrants and citizens do), the service is essentially free. The GPs that offer Bulk Billing seem competent enough so you shouldn’t be worried to seek their medical advice.

The list I have isn’t even entirely accurate. When I went to see my GP recently, it was roughly a 15-minute session and I only paid $50 for it. So, I guess the fee gradually increases relative to the length of the consultation.

You can then take the receipt afterwards to the nearest Medicare office to get a rebate. I’m not sure exactly how much money you’d get back but you can maybe check the Medicare website for more information. If you are new to Australia and need more information about Medicare, here is their Information Kit page.

For medical checkups, you go set up and appointment with a GP (general practitioner), what we would maybe call a family doctor back in the Philippines. They would have their own clinics and sometimes two or more of them come together and work from a private medical centre. Just to be clear, this medical centre is not a hospital.

Unlike in the Philippines, you will unlikely be able to just drop by a doctor at the hospital for a checkup unless its to see a specialist. Even then, you would probably be referred to the specialist by a GP first.

With private hospitals, you pay out of your own pocket whenever you wanted to be treated in one. Public hospital services are free so you may want to go there instead. The good news is that the public hospitals here are very reliable so you wouldn’t feel the need to go to a private hospital unlike in the Philippines. The advantage of going private probably is that you’ll get the attention you want because there’ll be less people going there.

I know that in the Philippines, it is common that the employer provide some form of medical benefits scheme. Here, it is not so common (if at all). When you get hospitalised in a public hospital, you don’t have to worry much because Medicare should cover it anyway.

Lastly, in case you are wondering, the abdominal ultrasound service I had on Thursday cost $190 and I had to pay it out of my pocket. I’ll probably get some rebate from Medicare later this week when I find the time to drop by their office in the city. So, yeah, pathology tests are usually expensive and you will have to pay for it yourself.

Of course, I’m only speaking from experience here so I could be mistaken in some of the things I’ve written. Still, this should give you a vague idea of what to expect.

Published in: on April 6, 2007 at 8:10 pm  Comments (2)