$110 million awaiting Medicare customers

About 670,000 people have not provided Medicare with their bank account details, preventing more than $110 million worth of rebates from being distributed to them.


Minister for Human Services and Digital Transformation Michael Keenan said, “It only takes a couple of minutes and the easiest way is by using one of our digital channels such as the Medicare Express Plus app, or through your myGov account.


“Medicare will then take care of the rest and the money you’re owed will be deposited in your account within a matter of days.”


Customers are regularly reminded of the need to update their bank account details and letters will be sent out again to affected people over the next few weeks to help reinforce that message.


The average amount owed to each individual is about $150, but some people could be missing out on far more if they are regular visitors to their doctor, or have had treatment for a serious medical condition.


Those who do not have a bank account can nominate a friend, relative or even an institution to receive their payment on their behalf.


While the total amount owed to Medicare customers is significant, it represents less than 0.5 per cent of the total amount paid out in Medicare benefits each year.


“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,” Minister Keenan said.


“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.”


The Department of Human Services is also keen to remind people that scammers posing as Medicare have been known to contact people asking for their bank account details.


“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,” Minister Keenan said.


“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 about how to set up a Medicare online account, see www.humanservices.gov.au/medicareonline


7 February 2019.