The $600 RACGP email you may be ignoring

3 minute read

College members who have automatic renewal risk being erroneously billed full fees unless they notify the college.

The only thing more annoying than email reminders to renew your college membership might be accidentally paying an extra $600 for that membership.

Which is exactly what happened to some part-time RACGP members with automatic renewal set up, who didn’t confirm their new subscription category in time.

The Medical Republic is aware of multiple part-time college members with the automatic payment option set up who have received an invoice for full membership.

Back in April, the RACGP announced it was restructuring its membership fee structure, slimming down the subscription categories and increasing prices that had fallen behind with inflation.

The main change to come out of the restructure was that the “part time” category – a discounted membership option for people who worked less than 20 hours a week in general practice – was replaced with a “concession” category, defined as people who earned over $100,000 per annum from all income sources.

TMR expected that the introduction of an income-based threshold would convert the chunk of the part-time members who work outside of general practice several days a week to full-fee payers.

After the RACGP board received (presumably overwhelmingly negative) feedback from members, the $100,000 threshold was quietly raised to $150,000.

The RACGP membership year runs from July to June, and the automatic payment would have been deducted from member’s accounts over the previous few weeks.

This year, with the new structure and indexation applied, a full RACGP membership will cost $1567, while the concession membership is $940.

The RACGP told TMR it has now sent multiple emails to all members requesting that they confirm their subscription category for the year ahead.

It appears that those who didn’t confirm their subscription category were billed for full membership.

The RACGP advises anyone who has been automatically billed for the full amount when they believe they qualify for a concession membership to contact the college directly for a refund.

When the membership changes were initially announced, college CEO Paul Wappett told TMR that the RACGP would not be asking members to disclose their income or their income sources to prove they qualified for the concessional rate.

“If a member wishes to avail themselves of the concessional rate, we ask only that they declare their income to be below the threshold level and that they are eligible for that concessional rate,” he said.

Earlier this year the RACGP cut 15% of staff and announced that they were headed for a deficit of up to $10 million this financial year, excluding grants and GP training.

It estimates that the membership restructure will increase revenue by about $9 million over the next two years.

Under the current structure, just 39% of members paid full fees.

This article has been corrected to reflect the fact that the automatic payment occurred earlier in June, rather than being set for July 1.

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