The Health Service Executive is to get an advance payment of €125m from private health insurers, which will help ease its €370m budget overrun.

The once-off payment is for private patients already treated but whose claims have not been submitted to insurers.

The announcement came as HSE and Department of Health officials began a meeting with the Troika on financial controls in the health service.

The department also said the Government has approved planned legislation for a permanent risk equalisation scheme, to keep health insurance affordable for older and sicker people and avoid cherry-picking by insurers.

The Bill will be published tomorrow.

At today's meeting with the Troika, the department was expected to highlight the new agreement with drug manufacturers, worth around €400m over the next three years, as well as legislation planned to ensure greater use of generic drugs.

The Troika has been interested in demand-led schemes, including medical cards and increasing costs due to rising unemployment and greater numbers needing to be covered under it.

It may also wish to hear about plans to make health insurance more competitive.

The Troika held an hour-long meeting with the Irish Patients' Association this morning.

Stephen McMahon of the IPA said his organisation was questioned by around 12 officials on where value for money and savings can be made in the health system.

He said the IPA was keen to see investment in primary care centres and some diverted funding from the costly acute service.