Not living in the cities of Melbourne or Sydney, hearing about bulk-billed IVF literally blew my mind.
But as I looked further into it, I realised it has been available in the country since Primary Health Care opened the first clinic to bulk-bill IVF in Sydney in August 2014.
It wasn’t until more than a year later that Melbourne’s Primary IVF followed suit, and Brisbane residents gained access to the service from early December, 2016 through Fertility Solutions.
Fertility Solutions is also the first to provide the cost-saving service to regional areas, with clinics in Bundaberg and on the Sunshine Coast attracting hundreds of inquiries since they began operating this month.
It is important to note that while the cycles themselves are bulk billed, eligible patients will have some out of pocket expenses for the Bulk-Billed IVF and Frozen Embryo Transfer cycles.
Fertility Solutions clinic Manager Denise Donati said it was a step towards making fertility treatments and future families more affordable for those who are struggling to conceive naturally.
“I believe that Fertility Solutions is the only clinic in Australia offering a four-tiered IVF treatment model for patients; one part of which is a bulk billed cycle. It is important for patients to understand that it is only the actual cycle that is bulk billed and that there will still be other costs associated with the treatments; however, we are very excited about our new Bulk Bill IVF option and the opportunity that it will provide to our patients.”
You must have access to Medicare Rebates to be able to access bulk billing options.
Studies by the University of NSW reveal that on average, every round of IVF costs about $8000 upfront, though around $4000 is returned through Medicare. Costs can increase by hundreds if a patient has medical issues and needs extra treatment.
Primary Health Care says most patients will be out of pocket around $500 (when you factor in pathology and non-Medicare covered expenses) rather than the average $4000 if they use their services.
Primary IVF medical director Dr Janelle McDonald said the clinic was filling a gap in a service that could otherwise be prohibitively expensive.
She said “access to fertility services is a fundamental right” and the company removed “the traditional barriers to IVF — cost”.