Medicare services

The Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) is a listing of services that qualify for a benefit under the Health Insurance Act 1973. The associated MBS claims data comprise information on MBS services that qualify for a Medicare Benefit, for which a claim has been processed (including bulk billed services). The data also include demographic information about patients. Medicare services include medical practitioner attendances, diagnostic and therapeutic procedures, and diagnostic and pathology services. They exclude services to public inpatients and public outpatients of hospitals, and services covered by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs National Treatment Account, or provided under other public funded programs. People who live in Australia and are Australian or New Zealand citizens or hold a permanent visa are eligible for Medicare enrolment.

In 2018–19, Australia’s females claimed more than 245 million services through Medicare, and received an average of 19.5 Medicare services per person in that year. By comparison, males claimed 14 Medicare services per person (Department of Health 2019).

The average number of services claimed by females varies by age group. In 2018–19, those aged (Department of Health, 2019):

  • under 45 claimed fewer than 12 services per person
  • 75 and over claimed more than 43 services per person.

Figure 17: Average number of Medicare services claimed by females, per person, by age group (years), 2018–19

This column chart shows that the average number of Medicare services claimed are relatively low for females aged 0–4 to 10–14 years (between 6 and 9 claims per person) after this age, average claims begin to increase with increasing age until they are highest for those aged 75–84 (44 per person).

Chart: AIHW. Source: Department of Health 2019 (see Table S16).