Medicare outsourcing to cause long payment delays 9



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Leaked Medicare documents have revealed patients face long delays for cash claims after the Turnbull government outsourced processing to new centres and closed Medicare shopfronts.

The changes could leave ­patients undergoing expensive treatment, including IVF thousands of dollars out of pocket for weeks and will also impact big claims for breast prosthetics that previously had a three-day turnaround.

Whistleblower public servants have come forward to warn patients can expect an end to face-to-face claims and claim they have been banned from telling patients that their Medicare claims will be sent off-site for processing.

“We were told yesterday in a team huddle that by December there will no longer be any face-to-face Medicare services, customers will only the able to claim digitally or through the service provider,’’ a source said.

“Apparently we won’t even have a Medicare dropbox, the little old ladies will have to fill in a form and post it and we know how much mail already goes missing. Who knows if they’ll get their forms through?’’

The Department of Human Services that is responsible for processing the Medicare claims has shifted the processing from local centres to centralised, city-based claims centres, extending the time it takes to deliver refunds.

The Medicare Public Branch confirmed in an email to staff that the changes will ­include an end to on-site processing and trained Medicare staff being asked to field Centrelink questions on welfare.

Opposition leader Bill ­Shorten said the changes would ­inconvenience all patients but risked leaving older patients vulnerable.

Opposition health and Medicare spokeswoman Catherine King said the closure of frontline services was paving the way for the privatisation of the system.

“We’ve heard the government is proposing to close down the remaining frontline services in Centrelink offices across the country for people accessing Medicare payments,” Ms King said on Sunday.

However, Human Services Minister Alan Tudge said there had been some consolidation of shopfronts over the past years but most people are still able to find a service centre within a few kilometres of their home.

Rebates are now being processed in one of 17 centres nationwide, but from the patient’s perspective there is no change, Mr Tudge told reporters on Sunday.

“Every single aspect of Medicare which is currently operated by government will continue to be operated by government, including the processing of the Medicare rebate,” Mr Tudge said.

Do you agree with the potential outsourcing of claims processing or do you prefer physical centres?

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  1. Mr Turnball kept telling us throughout the election he was for ” Jobs and Growth”, he just didn’t tell us they weren’t for Australians.

    2 REPLY
    • I’m just amazed the electorate didn’t already know. It’s been quite clear for a long time that the LNP aim, the IPA ideology, is for the workers to be peasants serving their masters in their own land. It suits the wealthy, the multinationals and big business perfectly. And the TPP will ensure it.

  2. More Mediscare

    2 REPLY
    • I have experienced no problems at all. the dr/dentist make a direct deposit to my bank ac. if I need to access medicare the local Narooma office is friendly and efficient. big thumbs up from me.

    • At last whistle blowers don’t have anything to lose – apart from their jobs which they would have lost earlier if they had spoken up earlier about the mass job losses they were facing before the end of this year. Mediscare is real and scary and has been since before the last election. It’s just coming to fruition now. They’ve had to tippy toe round the truth for too long.

      1 REPLY
      • They’re quite happy to lie to our faces as they destroy Medicare before our eyes. Pointless saying it won’t happen – it’s already happening here and now. The one good thing Australia had left to be proud of. Our Medicare, now the Liberals’ to do with what they wish.

  3. Yes Trudy I am with you and most of the above comments.
    But if we would have another election tomorrow I guess the LNP would again cross the line first. There are too many voters out there who can’t swing their minds around and vote LNP as they have done all there life.
    I used to vote for them until Tony A. got me with his terrible lies but not anymore. Turnbull is not better. He cuts wherever he can on our side i.e. health – pension – social housing etc.
    I have always believed MT is going to sell or outsource our Medicare it was obvious right before the last election. It didn’t take much to see that and people still voted him in. I would really like to say that it serves them right but I am unfortunately also one of the crowd how has to deal with it.

  4. I had to go to Medicare in my local Centrelink office on Friday to make a claim. Had to wait for 30 minutes before my name was called, and was then attended to by a very nice, but exhausted looking lady, who processed my claim very quickly and efficiently. I commented on the fact that the place seemed to be running on a skeleton staff – lots of clients, and very few staff to deal with them. She agreed, and said “and then they wonder why we get sick and don’t want to come in to work!” A sad state of affairs – and one that seems to be increasing! Get rid of staff, don’t take anyone else on and run the ones who are left into the ground with added duties! Yep – this lousy Government is trying to kill Medicare and any face-to-face assistance. And we are the ones who bear the brunt of the inconvenience and delays.

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