Medicare To Dump Cash Payments This Year

Sounds good to me: Medicare is going to eliminate cash payments in its offices from this year, offering instant direct deposits into your bank account using your EFTPOS card instead.

Picture by Steven Depolo

Liz Tay at iTnews reports that a trial of the "credit EFTPOS" system in 43 Medicare offices has gone so well that the system will be rolled out to all 242 branches from July 1 this year. Already, 20 of those offices no longer offer cash payments. The new system means that clients can have payments made immediately into their accounts but don't have their bank account details permanently stored. It's also much faster than existing electronic funds transfer options, which can take several days.

My doctor bulk bills, so I actually can't remember the last time I had to visit a Medicare office to get a refund. But apparently 26.6 million cash payments were made last year — an inefficiency which it seems sensible to correct. What's your take?

Medicare branches to drop cash for real-time transfers [iTnews]


Comments

    Whilst I can see the benefits if you prefer the EFT route, given that I use the medicare payments as a way to get cash without being hammered with banking fees, this won't benefit my situation (or those of a number of my elderly relatives who do the same).

    Been doing this for a while already, very cool! Saves time going to medicare and waiting in line etc...

    Hehe I hardly ever have to go to the bank/atm to withdraw money, I just take the family bills to Medicare and keep a supply of cash that way. Now I'll have to go to Medicare and the ATM!

    Bad move, especially for the elderly.

      why? every other essential government service undertaken by Human Services (Medicare, Centrelink, Child Support), as well as countless state government services, do not offer cash with the exception of Medicare Rebates why should this be different? - Last I checked the Pension is paid into the bank, as is Super/Investments and Annuities, so your argument for the elderly is?

    Back up a second... How the hell did you find a bulk billing doctor?

      I'd like to find a non-bulk billing doctor (ie, a real doctor!)!

    This is a good idea, but I'll miss skipping the queue as they seem to prioritise eftpos rebates over cash ones.

    I do all my medicare stuff online! I only ever had to visit a medicare centre for one reason and thats because they stuffed up my card. Otherwise why would you actually want to line up at a medicare office for gods knows how long.

    About time. Cash is quaint. But why bother with refunds at all? Why don't doctors just deduct the rebate and get paid direct by Medicare?

    Well this will certainly speed up the service at the Medicare branches... I swear you can sit there for hours while people just line up for cash... Welcome to the future.

      Not sure how much quicker it would be , it's a pretty quick process to count out some cash and hand it to someone, probably on par the how long it takes for you to get an eftpos transaction processed.

    I switched over to Medicare Electronic Depositing for claims. When visiting specialists, they always require full payment of the consult on the day. I pay this on my credit card, and get them to lodge my medicare claim electronically. In turn, it is back in my account that night. I even had a consult where I had paid at 5:30pm CST on a Friday Night, and it was paid back to me in cleared funds Saturday Morning ! In turn, I can use the 30-55 days interest free to pay off the gap (ie. spread it over 2 fortnightly payments typically), to minimise the impact on my day to day.

    My mother is definitely not going to like this. She doesn't trust her bank account details with anybody besides the bank. I have to admit I've always got my rebates back in cash as well. I usually pay for the doctor in cash so I want cash in return thanks.

    I too like to go and get a cash rebate. I usually store them up for a while, then when I need cash I go and submit them to the Medicare office. I have no idea what I need to do now. Why fix something if it isn't broken.

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