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Bulk billing is a strange term but really means that the medical provider (doctor, optometrist etc.) doesn’t bill YOU for the service, they bill the government. For convenience, the bills for several patients are done altogether, so “bulk billed”. I’m sure whoever thought of it got a gold star from the clarity in written expression people.

We directly bill consultations to Medicare for those who are eligible. Because the government pays, they get to make the rules about how often they want to pay, and for eye tests it is once every three years, or annually for the over 65’s.

There are some exceptions to this, but for most it’s three years. You can have your eyes tested as often as you want, but inside that scheduled time it’s coming out of your pocket!

Some special tests and almost all contact lens checkups, are specifically excluded from Medicare, and there will be a fee for those.

Some chain stores bulk bill and don’t charge for those services that aren’t covered by Medicare, but they are banking on you paying for glasses to recoup those costs.

Incidentally, most specialists charge private fees, and you can claim a rebate back from Medicare for that. Surgery is covered by your private health cover, to varying degrees, or you pay for that out of your own pocket as well.