Two grocery shopping milestones

This morning I saw my doctor, who diagnosed a secondary bacterial infection and prescribed me some antibiotics and also a nasal spray to help relieve the sinus symptoms.

As usual, when I left I walked out and didn’t stop at the reception desk. But when I got home I got as phone call from them, saying that I’d forgotten to pay! This was unexpected, because previously this practice had bulk-billed, meaning they bill the Australian Government directly for the services they render to patients, and the patients pay nothing. But doctors are also entitled to charge higher fees and claim the set fee as a rebate for the patient, and more doctors are doing this these days with the current inflationary pressures on the cost of living. So apparently my GP had switched to this method of charging in April, without my knowledge. (Well, maybe they sent me an email, which I mentally filed and forgot.) So I had to pay the account, and will get the rebate from the government, but I’ll be a bit out of pocket for this visit.

Since I still feel sick, I decided to have our groceries delivered this week instead of picking the order up at the supermarket. We’ve never done this before, so it was something new.

And the second grocery milestone: My wife and I have been married for 26 years, and today we purchased our third packet of salt. Just to be clear, these are 1 kilogram packets. We use virtually no salt in cooking and don’t add it at the table, so we don’t go through it very fast. Our usage has only really accelerated in the last 3 years as I’ve started baking bread, since as I discovered you need to add salt otherwise it tastes pretty awful. I think the first packet of salt probably lasted 15 or more years, and the second 10 or so.

Third piece of news for the day: I took Scully for a walk this afternoon and noticed a sign stuck on a large liquidambar tree that I regularly walk past. I went to have a look, and it said that the council had determined the tree was within its last 5 years of life, and would be removing it within the next 4 weeks. This is the tree that dropped a huge branch onto power lines in November last year, so I guess it’s a fair evaluation. They sign said the council will replace it with a native Australian tree, so it’ll be interesting to see what that is.

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3 thoughts on “Two grocery shopping milestones”

  1. Pay for medical bills and then go to the government for a rebate? What a weird system, can’t the clinic do the whole thing without you? I should think that the government would trust the report from the clinic more than whatever individual people come up with, and also why hassle the busy people who don’t have time to go chase rebates…
    I guess the americans have it worse, but here the system is totally different. I guess the closest we have is with emergeancy care – IR and ambulances – which don’t get billed upfront, and if it was a real emergeancy that resulted in hispitalization, we don’t pay at all. Only if it was a false call we get the bill at a later date.

    1. Actually this clinic does send the rebate request to the government. I don’t have to do anything but pay their up-front bill, and then see a government deposit in my bank account a few days later.

      But it used to be that you had to process the rebate yourself. Take the doctor’s printed receipt to a Medicare office, fill in a form, and hand it over to a person, who stamped it and filed it, and then you’d see your rebate deposited a week or so later. That’s now been streamlined and most clinics submit the rebater request on the patient’s behalf (but not all).

  2. There is no single American system. I generally pay nothing up front, but get billed for whatever is *not* covered by my insurance, often weeks later.

    I don’t use much salt myself, but certain foods just taste bad (to me) without at least a bit. One example would be zucchini (courgette to Aussies, I believe).

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