As Singapore’s population ages, it is inevitable that more people may be afflicted with severe disabilities, as the risk of disability rises with age.
An estimated three in 10 Singaporeans could remain in severe disability1 for 10 years or more*, possibly resulting in higher long-term care costs due to prolonged disability, and thus increasing the financial burden on themselves and their caregivers.
Singapore has been preparing for this, having introduced basic long-term care insurance scheme ElderShield† in 2002. The scheme offers protection against severe disability‡ , especially during old age.
Until 2019, all Singapore citizens and permanent residents with MediSave accounts were automatically enrolled in ElderShield at the age of 40, unless they opted out of the scheme†.
Those automatically enrolled are either under ElderShield 300 or ElderShield 400. All ElderShield customers should note that the Government will run ElderShield from 2021§, taking over from the private insurers such as Aviva, Income and Great Eastern.
One good thing about the change is that the Ministry of Health allows ElderShield policyholders to make the switch§ to CareShield Life – the compulsory national long-term care insurance providing disability coverage for all Singapore residents born in 1980 or laterǁ.
Supplementing national long-term care insurance schemes with GREAT CareShield
There are many benefits of switching over to CareShield Life. Current policyholders of ElderShield 300 and ElderShield 400 will be provided with $300 a month for up to five years, or $400 a month for up to six years, upon severe disability1 respectively¶.
The payouts may be insufficient to cover potential long-term care costs as rehabilitation can cost up to $425 per session2 and nursing home stays can cost up to $2,300 per month3.
These can add up to a hefty amount, and the monthly payouts may not fully provide for your long-term care needs.
To supplement this gap, private insurers such as Great Eastern encourage ElderShield policyholders to enhance their long-term disability coverage with GREAT CareShield¶.
To support long-term care needs, GREAT CareShield provides monthly payouts4 of up to S$2,500 upon inability to perform one ADL, and up to $5,000 upon inability to perform two or more ADLs.
GREAT CareShield will also provide additional monthly payouts through what is known as the Caregiver Benefit5 and the Dependant Care Benefit6. These additional payouts come in handy for those who need a full-time caregiver, alternative care arrangements or to support other long-term care needs.
Pay your premiums partially or in full with MediSave
Policyholders aged 40 years and older who are on ElderShield will also appreciate that premiums for GREAT CareShield can be paid with their MediSave funds or the MediSave funds of their family members.
Up to $600 of MediSave funds4 can be used annually per insured person to pay for the premiums for ElderShield and CareShield Life supplementary plans.
Based solely on the $600 annual MediSave withdrawal limits, an ElderShield 400 customer can increase their monthly payouts to up to $1,300.
For example, James, 42, is currently covered under ElderShield 400 with a $400 monthly payout for up to six years in the event of a severe disability1. With the GREAT CareShield supplementary plan, he can enhance his coverage by $900, taking his new total monthly payout to $1,300 - which is about three times the current monthly payout.
What's more, his annual premiums of $541.59 may be fully payable with MediSave.
Get covered while you’re young
Common causes of disability include accidents, stroke, diabetes and cancer, which can greatly affect people’s lives as they age.
Given that the prevalence of disabilities rises between age groups – jumping from 3.4 per cent for people aged 18 to 49, to 13.3 per cent for people aged 50 and older^ – it is timely for those under the ElderShield scheme to plan ahead with supplementary plans under GREAT CareShield.
There are also more perks to getting covered early – you can lock in lower premiums8 and have peace of mind that you are covered.
Get a quote today!
This is an updated version of the original story which was published in The Straits Times.
* Goverment of Singapore, Planning ahead, November 22, 2019, https://www.careshieldlife.gov.sg/long-term-care/planning-ahead.html
† Goverment of Singapore, About ElderShield, April 18, 2022, https://www.careshieldlife.gov.sg/eldershield/about-eldershield.html
‡ The Straits Times, What you should know about ElderShield, February 4, 2018, https://www.straitstimes.com/business/what-you-should-know-about-eldershield
§ Government to take over administration of ElderShield from 2021, January 8, 2019
ǁ TheStraits Times, How new insurance scheme CareShield Life affects you, October 1, 2020, https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/how-new-insurance-scheme-careshield-life-affects-you
¶ The Straits Times, Those on ElderShield will be able to upgrade from 2021, May 28, 2018, https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/health/those-on-eldershield-will-be-able-to-upgrade-from-2021
^ The Straits Times, Prevalence of disabilities in different age groups revealed, December 21, 2016, https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/prevalence-of-disabilities-in-different-age-groups-revealed
1 Severe disability refers to the inability to perform at least three ADLs and where significant assistance is required from another person in performing the ADLs.
2 Singapore General Hospital, Rehabilitation Centre, https://www.sgh.com.sg/patient-care/specialties-services/Rehabilitation-Centre
3 MoneySmart, Nursing Homes in Singapore – How Much Does It Cost?, July 23, 2019, https://blog.moneysmart.sg/family/nursing-homes-singapore/
4 Subject to Deferment Period. 50 per cent of the selected Monthly Benefit will be paid out upon the inability to perform 1 ADL. 100% of the selected Monthly Benefit will be paid out upon the inability to perform at least 2 ADLs. The payouts will be for as long as the Life Assured continues to suffer the relevant number of disabilities.
5 Subject to Deferment Period. This is 60 per cent of the Monthly Benefit and payable for up to 12 months (whether consecutive or not).
6 Subject to Deferment Period. Only applicable if you have a child below 22 years old at the time of claim. This is 30 per cent of the Monthly Benefit and payable for up to 48 months (whether consecutive or not).
7 Premiums can be paid by MediSave, subject to a limit of $600 per calendar year per insured person.
8 Premium rates are not guaranteed and they may be adjusted from time to time based on future experience.
All ages specified refer to age last birthday. Figures illustrated are rounded down to the nearest dollar. This advertisement has not been reviewed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore. Terms and Conditions apply. Protected up to specified limits by SDIC.
This is only product information provided by Great Eastern. You may wish to seek advice from a qualified adviser before buying the product. If you choose not to seek advice from a qualified adviser, you should consider whether the product is suitable for you. Buying health insurance products that are not suitable for you may impact your ability to finance your future healthcare needs. If you decide that the policy is not suitable after purchasing the policy, you may terminate the policy in accordance with the free-look provision, if any, and the insurer may recover from you any expense incurred by the insurer in underwriting the policy.