HEALTH insurance companies are to give an advance payment of €125m to the Health Service Executive - relieving part of its deficit which could run to €500m.
The figure is part of the money which has yet to be claimed by public hospitals from the insurers for treating private patients.
The money for treating private patients is outstanding mainly due to the delays by hospital consultants in signing the necessary forms.
Minister for Health James Reilly said it would improve cash-flow between now and the end of the year, and provide much-needed funds for hospitals in the coming months to the end of December.
The money is a once-off payment in respect of private patients who have already been treated in publicly funded hospitals, but where the detailed claims have not yet been received by insurers, he said.
The effect of the €125 million will be to reduce the overrun in the HSE.
Meanwhile, the Government has approved the text of a Bill for a new Risk Equalisation scheme in the private health insurance market, to apply from 1 January next.
The Health Insurance (Amendment) Bill 2012, which will be published tomorrow, delivers on the Government’s commitment to introduce a strengthened Risk Equalisation Scheme to replace the current Interim Scheme that expires on December 31.
Risk Equalisation is designed to take account of differences in health insurers’ costs that arise due to the age or health of their customers.
It protects our system of community rating, whereby older and sicker people can buy health insurance for the same price as younger and healthier customers.
The Bill will be enacted by the end of this year, in advance of its implementation from January 2013.