As of 1 October 2020, all Singaporeans who turn 30 will be automatically enrolled in CareShield Life. While those who are between 30 and 40 years old (born between 1980 to 1990) are automatically enrolled, those who are above 40 years old (born before 1979) have a choice of either continuing with the existing ElderShield scheme or opting in for CareShield Life.
Given that every Singaporean who turns 30 will be enrolled automatically, we should equip ourselves with the knowledge of the scheme and what it covers. Here’s a complete guide to what every Singaporean should know about CareShield Life.
What Is CareShield Life?
While MediShield Life is mandatory health insurance for all Singaporeans, it is designed and intended to provide coverage for acute care – care that is provided by hospitals for immediate and urgent medical needs. It provides insurance coverage for hospitalisation and surgeries. However, it was never intended to provide financial support for those who require longer term care, even though there are some provisions for community hospital care.
Instead, support for long term care was covered by Eldershield, a basic long-term care insurance scheme targeted at severe disability, especially during old age. It provides a monthly payout of up to $400, upon the event of severe disability. However, this payout is only up to 6 years.
In recognition of the fact that Singaporeans require better and longer coverage for long term care, CareShield Life was launched on 1 October 2020 as a long-term care insurance scheme that provides basic financial support to Singaporeans in the event of severe disability, especially during old age, and who require personal and medical care for an extended duration (i.e. long-term care).
All Singaporeans Are Covered Under CareShield Life
As long as you are a Singaporean (Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents), you will be automatically enrolled in CareShield Life when you turn 30. This is regardless of any pre-existing medical conditions or disability.
For Singaporeans born between 1980 and 1990, you are automatically covered on 1 October 2020 or when you turn 30.
For Singaporeans Singaporeans born in 1979 or earlier, you have a choice to either apply to join CareShield Life or remain on ElderShield. You can apply to join CareShield Life from end-2021 onwards if you are not severely disabled. There is no age limit.
Additionally, if you are born between 1970 and 1979 (aged 41 to 50 in 2020), insured under ElderShield 400, and not severely disabled, you will be automatically enrolled in CareShield Life from end-2021. However, you can opt-out by 31 Dec 2023 if you do not wish to remain on CareShield Life. More information on auto-enrolment will be provided closer to end-2021.
CareShield Life Provides Lifetime and Worldwide Coverage And Lifetime Payouts
The major difference between ElderShield and CareShield Life is that CareShield Life provides lifetime coverage. You will continue to be covered for life once you have completed paying all your premiums, which will happen in the year you turn age 67 or 10 years after you join the scheme, whichever is later.
CareShield Life also provides worldwide coverage. Regardless of your residence, you will remain covered, and be able to make a claim and receive payouts, if you are enrolled and continue to pay your premiums.
Additionally, the payouts are not time-limited; you will receive monthly payouts for as long as you remain severely disabled. The payouts are given out in cash (not reimbursement) so that you have the flexibility to decide whether you want to be cared at home or at a care facility.
As of 2020, the payouts upon the event of severe disability will start at $600/month in 2020 and increase over time. From 2020 to 2025, payouts will increase by 2% per year. Thereafter, payout increases and corresponding premium adjustments will be recommended by an independent CareShield Life Council. These payout increases are helpful but may not be fully adequate, especially when you realise that medical inflation was 10% in 2018.
While your potential payout increases annually, once you have made a claim of severe disability, your payout amount is fixed as of that year and will not increase further. Whereas your peer who makes a claim later in life will receive a higher payout, as illustrated in the example below.
Source: CareShield Life
You Can Claim If You Cannot Perform Three Of The Six Activities Of Daily Living (ADLs)
In order to make a claim, you need to be assessed by a MOH-accredited severe disability assessor as being unable to perform at least three out of the six Activities of Daily Living (ADLs).
Source: CareShield Life
If you are residing in a nursing home, the nursing home can help submit a Resident’s Assessment Form in place of the severe disability assessment.
The severe disability assessment fee is $100 for a clinic assessment and $250 for a house call. The fee is waived if it is your 1st assessment for CareShield Life. If this is not your 1st assessment, the assessor will collect an assessment fee from you. The full fee will be reimbursed if you are assessed to be severely disabled and will be reimbursed with the first payout.
The claim application is made through AIC and it will take about one month to process.
CareShield Life Is Meant To Provide Basic Long Term Care Support To Singaporeans
While CareShield Life does provide more comprehensive coverage for long term care, the payout may not be sufficient for those who need a higher level of care. For instance, the basic cost for a nursing home is between $2,000 and $3,600 a month to stay in a nursing home (before MOH subsidy), depending on the level of care required.
Instead, home care may be a more financially sustainable option, especially in combination with the other grants and subsidies available for seniors.
While CareShield Life and MediShield Life are government schemes that help Singaporeans afford quality basic care, we are ultimately responsible for our own health and well-being. Thus, we should take the timely reminder at age 30 when we receive our CareShield Life letter, to maintain a healthy lifestyle and plan for our future.
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