Medicare ditches cash for debit cards

Claiming a Medicare rebate using your debit card will soon be possible all over the country, according to Senator Kim Carr.

Claiming a Medicare rebate using your debit card will soon be possible all over the country, according to Senator Kim Carr.

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(Littman image by Katrin Morenz, CC BY-SA 2.0)

Patients are already able to pre-register their account information with Medicare at sites around the country, in order to enable direct rebates to be made into their bank accounts. This new announcement will see the existing system expanded, allowing patients to swipe their payment card at a Medicare service counter to have a rebate credited to their account.

Carr extolled the benefits of the electronic payment service, adding that it is designed to phase out the use of cash for Medicare rebates, which he said takes longer to process and is less secure.

"It also means a move away from high counters and security glass in service centres," Carr said, adding that Medicare is one of the only government agencies that continues to deal in large amounts of cash.

Customers who need special assistance, and those who don't have bank accounts, won't be at a disadvantage, Carr said, specifying that rebates can be diverted to the account of a nominated friend or family member, or even paid by cheque.