New insurance plan ensures special-needs kids will get care services
As the parent of a boy with special needs, Ms Kalai Sylvie Sadayappan's biggest worry is that if something were to happen to her, her son would not be well taken care of.
"This is a concern all parents of children with special needs have," said the housewife, 41, whose eight-year-old has autism spectrum disorder. "Especially when he is growing, more issues might come up, and he will need therapy or he might regress."
That is why she is glad to be among 340 families with children with special needs who will get a free year under a special programme that will help financially in the event the child is left to fend for himself. The programme includes a payout of $150,000, which includes a lump sum of money as well as coverage for up to 15 years of regular therapy and care services for the child.
The Extraordinary Care programme, offered by caregiving service aggregator CaregiverAsia and insurance firm Great Eastern Life, in collaboration with special needs therapy provider Extraordinary People, was launched yesterday.
It also provides a 50 per cent discount for therapy services at Extraordinary People for the child, which can be tapped immediately.
About 50 companies and individuals have pledged to sponsor this programme. It costs $199 yearly, and families with children up to age 12 with special needs can apply.
There are more than 30,000 students with special needs in Singapore, said CaregiverAsia chief executive Yeo Wan Ling.
"There is, however, a market gap in products that ensure that financial safety nets are available for children to continue with their therapy when their families go into financial duress," she added.
There are insurance schemes for children with autism or Down syndrome that provide a payout if the parent dies or is permanently disabled and cover accident or infectious disease expenses for the child.
This initiative differs in that it focuses on the provision of therapy and caters to a variety of special needs.
Ms Sylvie previously bought life insurance for herself and puts money into a fund managed by the Special Needs Trust Company that her son can withdraw if his parents die or are incapacitated. "Of course the best-case scenario is that we are around. But with this (new programme), I can be assured that my child will continue to receive therapy as he grows older."