Cash payments ruled out

LEAVING a Medicare office with a fist full of cash will soon become a thing of the past, with the government announcing plans to change its payment policy.

Cash refunds following a doctor visit will be scrapped later this year under the changes, with patients due to have their money paid directly into their bank account or by cheque.

Warwick mother-of-two Donna Sheather said she had been using the electronic refund system for some time and it suited her busy life.

"I used to go in, but since I had the boys I have found it so much easier to just have it done automatically," she said.

"It's so much more convenient because you don't have to worry about the dockets and it just gets done."

Electronic transfers could take several days to arrive in bank accounts, but those needing cash will still be able to swipe their debit cards at a Medicare office to have the money deposited instantly into their bank.

Mother-of-four Sonya Gillespie welcomed the changes, as long as they continue to allow patients to receive an immediate refund.

"I get my refunds paid straight into my bank and I think it's great," she said.

"But I know there are some people who would need the money back straight away to pay for medicines."

Department of Human Services general manager Hank Jongen said no date had been set for Warwick's transition to the new system, but it was expected to be later this year.

The changes

Cash refunds to be scrapped later this year.

Refund options will be electronic transfer or cheque.

Patients will still be able to attend a Medicare office to receive an immediate refund into their bank account.

Topics:  cash, government, medicare office, payment, warwick



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