If you're planning to set up as a GP in your own clinic, then you may not be sure whether to use Medicare bulk-billing or not. If you do, then you may make slightly less money than you would if you billed your patients privately. However, bulk billing has some benefits, especially for small healthcare clinics that are just starting up. What are they?
1. Make Things Easier For Your Patients
If you accept bulk billing, then you commit to treating patients at set Medicare rates. So, for example, you claim back a standard fee for a consultation or treatment based on the relevant Medicare schedule.
Your patients don't have to pay anything as long as the system covers their treatments. You bill Medicare so your patients don't have to pay you and then claim their money back. They also won't have to pay gap costs if a treatment exceeds the Medicare allowance.
So this makes things easier and more cost-effective for patients. This can be a useful service to offer, especially if you're based in a low-income area where people can't always easily afford to pay private medical costs.
2. Reduce Your Admin Load
If you bill your patients privately, then you might have to handle all your admin work in-house. Your staff will have to give out bills, chase them up and handle payments.
While you may earn more with private billing, bulk billing may be easier and more cost-effective, at least to start with. You only have to bill Medicare, which takes care of payments for you. So you may not need to dedicate much employee time to billing at all. This could reduce your staffing costs and streamline your income earnings.
3. Create a Regular Income Stream
If you use private billing, then you might have to chase some patients to get your money. You could have a lot of invoices pending without money coming in. Some patients may not pay at all or may struggle to do so, leaving you with a shortfall.
You may need a member of staff to chase these debts, or you may pass them over to a debt collection agency. In either case, this affects your income stream; you may also have to pay to get money coming in that you are owed.
If you bulk bill, Medicare typically pays you automatically. You get a more consistent income stream and don't have to worry about payment defaults. So bulk billing may make more sense for your clinic at the moment.