CareShield Life will prepare S'poreans better for old age: Gan
CareShield Life gives better health assurance for Singaporeans, who are living longer: Gan Kim Yong
The introduction of CareShield Life will allow Singaporeans to be better prepared for their long-term care needs as Singapore's population ages, Health Minister Gan Kim Yong told Parliament yesterday as he kicked off a five-hour debate on the new mandatory disability insurance scheme.
Singapore residents born between 1980 and 1990 will be automatically enrolled into the new insurance plan in 2020, which provides lifetime cash payouts in the event of severe disability.
For these cohorts, the new scheme will replace the existing ElderShield insurance plan, which provides lower payouts and only for up to five or six years.
Those born in 1979 or earlier will be given the option to enrol in the new plan in 2021 and future cohorts will be enrolled when they reach the age of 30.
"CareShield Life will offer better protection and greater assurance for Singaporeans' long-term care needs. It is a significant step in strengthening our social safety net," Mr Gan said.
By 2030, one in four Singaporeans will be aged 65 and above, compared to one out of seven today, Mr Gan added.
There will also be fewer working adults supporting those 65 and above, with the ratio expected to fall from 5 to 2.7 in that same time.
"Living longer also means that we face higher risks of frailty in old age. Some of us may require long-term care, and assistance with daily living activities," he said.
Preparing for our old age needs is often of low priority when we are younger... But starting to prepare when we are old would be very challenging.Health Minister Gan Kim Yong
The Health Ministry projects that one in two Singaporeans who are healthy at age 65 could become severely disabled at some point in their lifetime.
Mr Gan said that some were surprised by the "1-in-2" statistic, but explained that this is simply because people do not all become severely disabled at the same time.
"Preparing for our old age needs is often of low priority when we are younger... But starting to prepare when we are old would be very challenging," he said.
Universal insurance coverage would help to ensure basic protection for the long-term care needs of the future generations, Mr Gan said, and CareShield Life, which is a pre-funded insurance scheme, allows Singaporeans to pool risks together, without passing on the burden.
Besides support via premium subsidies, incentives and an additional premium support scheme for those enrolling into CareShield Life, the severely disabled aged 30 and above will also be able to withdraw up to $200 per month from their own or their spouse's Medisave account depending on the balance remaining, Mr Gan said.
The Government will also set up a new ElderFund to support low-income households and eligible citizens will receive up to $250 in cash per month for as long as they are severely disabled.
Both the Medisave withdrawal scheme and ElderFund will also come into effect in 2020.