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 males claimed more than 178 million services through Medicare and received an average of 14 Medicare services per person in that year. By comparison, females claimed 19.5 Medicare services per person (Department of Health, 2019).

The average number of services claimed by males varies by age group (Figure 17). In 2018–19, those aged (Department of Health, 2019):

  • under 45 claimed fewer than 8 services per person on average
  • 75 and over claimed 48 services per person on average.

Figure 17: Average number of Medicare services claimed, per person, males by age group, 2018–19

This column chart shows the average number of Medicare services claimed are relatively low for males aged 0–4 to 25–34 years (7.4 per person) after tis age, average claims to increase with increasing age until they are highest for those aged 85 and over (49 per person).

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