Singapore Healthcare: How CareShield Life Affects YOU

Singapore Healthcare: How CareShield Life Affects YOU

This is everything you need to know about the compulsory insurance.

Singapore's healthcare is one of the best in the world, often emulated by other first world countries. Its most recent introduction is the new CareShield Life.

An enhancement of the existing ElderShield scheme, the CareShield Life insurance system aims to make claims easier when it takes effect in 2020, among other benefits.

You're probably wondering how this CareShield Life insurance system will affect you.

We might not be facing any disabilities now, but many of us will require long-term care in old age should we be riddled with disabilities. By then, the cost of healthcare would have fast surpassed our savings for retirement - plus, don't we want to keep that money for our living expenses rather than medical care?

In more immediate terms, if it doesn't directly affect us, it will affect our parents and this is how we can stay informed.

Here's how CareShield Life will affect you:

Careshield Life
Source: MOH

1. Easier claims

As mentioned, the CareShield Life insurance system will make the claims process easier than the current ElderShield scheme. The current process for claims under ElderShield is long and tedious.

2. A wider scope of assessors

The lack of assessors is one of the reasons it is tough to get an assessment done. The new system will allow a wider pool of assessors, which includes occupational therapists, physiotherapists and nurses.

Assessments by healthcare professionals who are not accredited will also be accepted. Currently, only 120 general practitioners (13 of whom make house calls) can do assessments.

With more assessors in place, this process will be much faster and more convenient.

3. Immediate qualification for those born in 1980 and are aged between 30 and 40 in 2020

Once the plan is implemented in 2020, all those who are born in 1980 or after immediately qualify for the new CareShield Life system if they are aged between age 30 and 40.

  • Those born later than 1980 will automatically be opt-ed in when they turn 30.
  • Those born in 1979 or earlier: The current ElderShield will continue to cover you (if you have one) and you can choose to join from 2021.

4. Changes in starting age

  • The scheme will start at the age of 30 instead of 40 under ElderShield.
  • It will be compulsory, unlike ElderShield, which allowed opt-outs.
  • Those with pre-existing disabilities, including autism, will also come onto the scheme. This means that anyone who already has a pre-existing disability and will be under 40 in 2020, will just have to make a one premium payment before being able to start receiving payouts, subject to satisfying the disability assessment.

This includes those who have common chronic conditions such as diabetes, hypertension as well as other illnesses. But doesn't include those over 40 with pre-existing conditions.

5. Lifetime payouts

Careshield Life Source: Pixabay

With the existing two schemes under Eldershield, ElderShield 300 and ElderShield 400, payouts are either S$300 a month for a period of five years or S$400 a month for a period of six years respectively.

Under CareShield Life severely disabled policyholders will get (a minimum of) S$600 payouts every month for their whole lives. The potential payout will increase over time, until the policyholder reaches the age of 67, or makes a successful claim.

An estimated payout table:

Year Monthly Payouts
2020 S$600
2021 S$612
2022 S$624
2023 S$637
2024 S$649
2025 S$662

However, this will come with premiums that also increase over time.

6. Premium subsidies

Despite premiums that increase over time, the Government will provide three types of premium subsidies:

  • Permanent means-tested subsidies for lower- to middle-income Singapore residents: Up to two-thirds of Singapore resident households will be eligible for CareShield Life subsidies of up to 30%.
  • Transitional subsidies for the first five years from scheme launch: Singapore Citizens will receive up to $250 in subsidies spread over the first five years of the new scheme to help them pay for the premiums of the new scheme.
  • Additional premium support: For those in financial need who are unable to pay for their net premiums after premium subsidies, they can receive Additional Premium Support from the Government.

Premiums begin from age 30 to 67 (or current re-employment age whichever is higher) and will increase at a rate of 2% per year for the first five years.

One of the promises for CareShield Life is that no one will lose coverage if they cannot pay the premiums. You can use your Medisave account to pay for premiums.

Here's how the subsidy rate will work:

Monthly Per Capita Household Income Subsidy Rate
Less than S$1,100 30%
S$1,101 – S$1,800 25%
S$1,801 – S$2,600 20%

7. Waiver of fees

CareShield Life is under the government and the cost of the first disability assessment is waived regardless of outcome.

8. Existing ElderShield cohorts can opt into CareShield Life

Those who already have the ElderShield plan but have not made any claims can join CareShield Life from 2021. The Government will develop measures and incentives, including permanent means-tested subsidies and premium support to encourage this.

Here's an overall summary of the differences and improvements that CareShield Life will bring in 2020:

  ElderShield CareShield Life
Able to opt out? Yes No
Payable by Medisave Yes Yes
Premiums start at 40 years old 30 years old
Premiums stop at 65 years old 67 years old     (or later according to retirement age)    
Annual premiums* S$175 (Men);     S$218 (Women)     S$200 (Men);     S$250 (Women)   - Increase 2% every year  
Premiums are paid for (years) 26 38
Government subsidy No Yes
Payout starts when Unable to do at least 3 Activities of Daily Living (ADLs)
Payout amount $400/month $600/month (starting 2020)
Duration of payout Six years Lifetime

ADLs:

i) Washing: ability to wash in the bath or shower (including getting in and out of the bath or shower) or wash by other means

ii) Dressing: ability to put on, take off, secure and unfasten all garments and, as appropriate, any braces, artificial limbs or other surgical medical appliances.

iii) Feeding: ability to feed oneself food after it has been prepared and made available.

iv) Going to the toilet: ability to use the lavatory or manage bowel and bladder function through the use of protective undergarments or surgical appliances if appropriate.

v) Walking or moving around: ability to move indoors from room to room on level surfaces

vi) Transferring: ability to move from bed to an upright chair or wheelchair, and vice versa.

CareShield Life

What do you think of the Singapore healthcare system's initiative to continually improve their systems by introducing CareShield Life? Let us know in the comments. 

Read more articles here.

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Written by

Sarah Voon