Everyone is familiar with the frustration of waiting to receive your Medicare rebate after shelling out for medical services, but new government data has revealed that hundreds of thousands of Australians are missing out on a hefty payday after failing to claim their repayments.
According to Minister for Human Services Michael Keenan, around 670,000 people are still owed refunds for doctors’ appointments and other services, with a total of $110 million yet to be reimbursed.
Speaking on Thursday, Keenan said the issue arose after people failed to submit their up-to-date bank details to the government, which can be done via the Medicare Express Plus app or by logging into your MyGov account online.
“The Coalition Government would much rather see this money sitting in your pockets instead of ours,” he said in a statement. “Which is why we are again reminding those who haven’t given Medicare their bank account details that they need to take action now.”
The 670,000 affected people are said to be owed an average of $150 each, however the Department of Human Services estimate that some customers could be owed much larger sums if they visit their GP regularly or have undergone treatment for a serious health issue.
If you believe you may be affected, the government stressed that you can expect to receive your money within a matter of days after supplying your bank details. Letters will also be distributed over the next couple of weeks, reminding those who have not yet done so to correct their details.
And, if you do not have a bank account of your own, you can also nominate a friend or relative to receive the payment on your behalf.
“We see the same thing happening with lost superannuation accounts where people tell themselves that they will get around to claiming their money one day, but never do,” Keenan added. “My advice is set aside a couple of minutes as soon as possible to do what is a really simple task that will ensure you receive what you are entitled to quickly and easily.”
While the government department will be contacting people to remind them of their owed funds, Keenan also reminded customers to be vigilant when it comes to handing out their bank details due to the risk of scammers.
He said: “As recently as late last year, scammers were actively targeting people through SMS messages that urged them to click on a hyperlink to claim their outstanding Medicare rebates. While the department does call, SMS or email people from time to time, it never includes hyperlinks in emails or text messages for you to click on.
“The reminder letters that will be going out shortly will contain clear instructions about what you need to do. But if you have any doubts when you receive this correspondence, you can always call us or visit one of our hundreds of service centres around the country.”
For more information visit the Department of Human Services’ website.
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