Telehealth is here to stay after the Health Minister confirmed it would remain in place after the COVID-19 pandemic.  Telehealth consultations can be a virtual consultation with your GP or a private telephone conversation. Both are rebateable under Medicare.

Health Minister Greg Hunt said the scheme had already led to 40 million online consultations.

“There is not much good that has come out of COVID-19,” he said.  “One thing that has come out if it is access to Telehealth for all Australians, which was not predicted to be available until 2030.  “What we’re working on is ensuring that this is a permanent transformation in the Australian scheme.”

The Australian Medical Association, which has led the charge for digitisation, has welcomed the development.

AMA Vice-President Chris Moy said COVID-19 had “opened the eyes of not only the community, but the health system” to the benefits of online consultations. He said the “clunky” previous Medicare system, where doctors could only charge for in-person consultations, particularly disadvantaged older and regional Australians who found it difficult to attend medical centres.