MEDICARE'S Warrnambool branch will stop issuing cash payments at the end of the week and rebates will be paid directly into bank accounts instead.
Department of Human Services general manager Hank Jongen said claims would be made by electronic funds transfer (EFT) or by swiping a debit card. "We're removing cash from offices and moving to new electronic payment methods which pay Medicare benefits directly into bank accounts," Mr Jongen said. Only eight per cent of payments were processed using cash last financial year, and just four per cent by cheques.
There are now several electronic payment options available to people claiming Medicare benefits.
People can register their bank account details with Medicare and claim using EFT, where benefits will usually be deposited into their bank account the next business day.
If people need immediate payment, they can swipe their debit card and payment will be instantly deposited into their bank account via credit eftpos.
"Registering bank account details with Medicare means benefits can also be claimed directly at your local doctor, with more than half of GPs nationwide able to process payments almost immediately via eftpos," Mr Jongen said.
Medicare has been the only Australian government program still managing large volumes of cash and offices around the country will come under the new system.