More than $110m in unpaid Medicare rebates

File pic.
File pic.

MORE than $110 million of Medicare rebates is sitting unclaimed due to Australians who have not provided their bank account details to the government.

Human Services Minister Michael Keenan said about 670,000 people were owed money since cheques were phased out and insisted it took “a couple of minutes” to provide the necessary information to receive the rebates.

“The government would much rather see this money sitting in your pockets instead of ours, which is why we are again reminding those who haven’t given Medicare their bank account details that they need to take action now,” he said.

“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.”

He said customers were 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.

The average amount owed to each individual is about $150, but some people could be missing out on 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 institution to receive their payment on their behalf.

Mr Keenan said while the total amount owed to Medicare customers was significant, it represented less than 0.5 per cent of the total amount paid out in Medicare benefits each year.

The Department of Human Services was 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,” Mr 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.”