[ANSWERED] New Script Cost from Doctor?

Hi all, I used to get my prescriptions directly from my specialist, who used to mail out new scrips to me when my existing prescription was used up. My specialist recently told me that they will no longer be providing new scripts, and that I needed to see my GP for a new prescription script when necessary. I saw the GP today for a new prescription, and was surprised at the high cost. I was in the GPs room for literally like two minutes, and was charged $53 for an item 23 level B surgery.

Considering that used to pay nothing to get a new prescription, this price was very surprising to me, and I was wondering if this sounds correct? This is just for the new script to be clear, no medication was supplied.

Unfortunately navigating Australia’s complex health care system is not something anyone teaches you in schools…

Any advice would be appreciated, specially any tips on how to get this cost lower in future. I understand the price charge is before the rebate, I will be out of pocket about $16. I was just very surprised that this wasn’t a bulk bill item, considering that no medical diagnosis was performed, and also the very short consultation time.


  • Go to a bulk bill surgery and you won't pay any excess.

    • Do they charge a different price for the same thing? I’m not sure I understand how that works.

      • It seems the surgery you went to charges an excess. Ask them if they will issue the script without an excess, otherwise find another GP.

        • When I indicated my shock, they didn't really suggest/offer any other option. I think I'll just have to try another GP. Thanks.

  • Ask your doctor to bulk bill the script appointment. Now you gave seen your GP he/she may give you a script without an appointment. Mine does but charges $5 for the process

  • Same thing happened to My Mum and doctor wanted to charge $40, even with the medicare rebate. She ended up walking out and we found another doctor who bulk billed. Its annoying to get into doctors especially here on the central coast, nsw often long wait times, to pay $40-50 for a 3 minute appointment every 2 weeks or so is not acceptable.

    • You voted for this if you voted Liberal.

      • What has political party got to do with it? More a company that wants to make more money, there's plenty of others that do bulk bill.

  • Unfortunately navigating Australia’s complex health care system is not something anyone teaches you in schools…

    Outside of the perennial debates on whether we should teach more English, or more Maths, or more Comp-Sci in schools, I think information and skills like these are what's really missing from the school curriculum:

    1. Basic financial literacy including budgeting skills, banking and borrowing concepts (including credit cards, lay-by, compounding interest, etc),

    2. Basic legal skills like how to navigate traffic accidents, traffic tickets, residential leases, consumer protection laws, etc, and

    3. Basic life skills like how to navigate government and other basic services, like (in this case) how Medicare and private health insurance works, how Centrelink benefits work, what are available, etc.

    I mean, yes, ideally you would have parents teaching their kids these things, but I think we've reached a point where a majority of parents don't even know how these work and could not possibly, even if they were inclined, pass on these skills and information to their kids.

    • That actually sounds useful but it would take away time from lying to the children about how white people came to Australia and teaching science that is 50 years out of date. Assuming they aren't being taught that the earth is 6000 years old of course, now that's the really important stuff to learn!

  • I think information and skills like these are what's really missing from the school curriculum

    Surely that's what these forums are for? At least it seems like it!

    • I figured since this is about saving money, I'd be well placed to ask about it on the health section of ozbargain…

    • Next we'll be getting posts titled "Should I send my kid to Public School, Private School, or OzBargain School?"

  • I thought most GPs bulk billed in major cities

    • Many do, but I certainly would not say a majority. Though given the density of some cities, you wouldn't have to go far to find one.

  • It depends on the GP.
    I'm a GP at a mixed billing practice. I bulk bill vulnerable patients. But in your case if it was really a simple script I tend to bulk bill. This does depend though whether you were a regular patient of mine. If you weren't I'd probably take a proper history and make sure the medication you take is safe (even if you feel it's pointless, I do have to double check!)

    Good quality care with Bulk Billing is difficult. It's difficult to change public perceptions - but in the end you get what you pay for. I earn no more than I would practising at a bulk billing clinic. I simply spend more of my time following up with patients so in the end get paid the same

    • Thanks for the insight. I guess today I didn't feel like I got value for money, for what was essentially just a paperwork appointment, so I will probably find another clinic for script repeats in the future - while I have been reasonably happy with their quality of care at other appointments where medical advice was provided.

      • It all depends on the situation. Plenty of my patients go and get their scripts from the bulk billing GP and save "real problems" for me. However plenty of my patients also request script renewals over the phone for a fee (as this is not Medicare rebatable).

        Your specialist probably didn't charge you for scripts as you pay them so much it's factored into the cost of your appointments previously. They probably stopped doing it as it was too much work for no extra reimbursement.

  • I go to a "private billing clinic" (ie they don't bulk bill) because I like the doctors there. Because they don't bulk bill, I have to pay $78 for a standard consultation, so with the medicare rebate of about $37, my "out of pocket" is about $41. As I understand it, that means that the clinic gets $41 more for each and every session than a clinic that bulk bills. I don't really begrudge them that, since I choose to go there.

    This year, though, they've started to charge an out-of-pocket $10 fee for repeat scripts "for my doctor's time". I'm a regular patient, so they're already making a damn fortune from me. That's just plain greedy.

    • So if you're in the same boat as me, what do you plan to do? Will you go to a bulk billing practice for scripts? Will you tell them that?

  • More fool you. They are ripping you off.