Millions of dollars in Medicare rebates sitting unclaimed – how you can double check if you’re owed money

By Tahlia Sarv • Reporter and Producer
May 19, 2020
(Nine)

Millions of dollars in Medicare rebates are sitting unclaimed, ready for thousands of Australians to collect.
A payment glitch has resulted in money being hidden but there is a simple step to get it back.
A Brisbane family recently landed a huge windfall and provided 9News with their bank statement.
The parents had been chasing a missing $85 dollars for their 17-year-old daughter, only to pocket nearly $900 of non-paid Medicare rebates.
The family’s bank statement shows multiple medicare rebates deposited in their account. (Supplied)
These ranged from a $37 GP visit to more expensive specialist appointments.
After a phone call to Medicare, the missing funds hit their account within 24 hours.
According to Canstar financial services executive Steve Mickenbecker, there are possibly hundreds of thousands of people who have unclaimed claims.

“It averages somewhere like $150 dollars per person that’s owed money,” Mr Mickenbecker said.

Medicare urged anyone who was concerned to give them a call. (Nine)
In this Brisbane family’s case, the explanation was a payment glitch.
This can happen when a receptionist or healthcare professional mistakenly puts the refund through in the name of a child patient, who doesn’t have a bank account linked to the health care system.
Services Australia has confirmed payments can sometimes be incorrectly coded to a child and encouraged people to call 132 011 to get their cash back.
Canstar says Australians are owed about $150 on average. (Nine)
But that’s not only reason your refund money could land in limbo.
It also happens if you haven’t provided or updated your bank account details to Medicare.
Fortunately, your claims won’t expire – but the Federal Government says because of privacy laws, Medicare is unable to contact the Tax Office to retrieve your information.
To ensure you get paid every dollar you’re entitled to, check that your bank information is up-to-date on the my.gov.au website.
This time last year it was reported there was about $110 million in unpaid medicare rebates.
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