This article was written in collaboration with the Gov.sg. All views expressed in the article are the independent opinions of DollarsAndSense.sg
What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you think about retirement planning?
For most of us, retirement planning is about making sure we have enough money for our living expenses and healthcare needs.
Having enough money each month for our retirement is important. But it isn’t the only thing we should be thinking about.
Here’s a visual representation of a typical Singaporean’s journey through life, and how key decisions made affects them down the road:
MediShield Life & MediSave: Ensuring We Have Sufficient Healthcare Savings & Coverage During Retirement
As we grow older, it is important to set aside some savings for our healthcare needs as we may fall ill more often. This can be used for doctor visits, medication, regular health screenings, out-patient treatments, in-patient hospitalisation, day surgeries and rehabilitative care. Rest assured that you don’t have to bear these healthcare costs on your own.
#1 CHAS: Supporting Singaporeans With General Healthcare Cost
For those of you who don’t already know, the Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS) has been expanded to cover all Singaporeans with chronic conditions, regardless of income. These are applicable at participating general practitioners (GPs), private dentists and Specialist Outpatient Clinics (SOCs) at public hospitals.
There are additional subsidies available for lower and middle-income Singaporeans, depending on their household income, as well as Merdeka and Pioneer Generation seniors. Subsidies for complex chronic conditions are increased as well.
Which CHAS Card Do Your Qualify For?
The good news is that all Pioneer Generation and Merdeka Generation citizens will enjoy CHAS benefits, regardless of income or the annual value of their home.
Pioneer Generation and Merdeka Generation citizens receive enhanced CHAS benefits, including higher subsidies for common illnesses, chronic conditions and dental services. They can also go for subsidised health screening under Screen for Life, for $0 or $2.
For retirees, these benefits provide them with greater peace of mind knowing that general healthcare services they incur at CHAS clinics will be heavily subsidised by the government.
#2 MediSave & MediShield Life: For Hospitalisation And Other Costly Outpatient Treatments
For more serious illnesses that require hospitalisation or costly outpatient treatments, retirees in Singapore can rely on their MediSave or MediShield Life (or a private integrated shield plan if we have it).
MediSave is a national savings scheme which helps CPF members put aside part of their employment income to meet their future personal healthcare expenses, or those of their loved ones. We can use our MediSave savings for outpatient treatment of chronic conditions, such as diabetes or hypertension, and pay for our MediShield Life premiums.
MediShield Life is a mandatory lifelong health insurance plan that provides basic protection to all Singaporeans and Permanent Residents (PRs) against large hospital bills. We can use MediShield Life for hospitalisation and some costly outpatient treatments, like dialysis.
MediSave Top-Ups: For Pioneer Generation, Merdeka Generation
Even as retirees stop making MediSave contributions (because they are no longer working), it’s heartening to know that Singaporeans who fall under the Pioneer Generation (born 1949 and earlier) and the Merdeka Generation (born between 1950 to 1959) will be receiving regular MediSave top-ups.
Pioneer Generation Package: Every year, Pioneers receive between $200 to $800 MediSave top-ups for life.
|Year of Birth||Age in 2019||Amount|
|Born in 1934 and earlier||85 and above||$800|
|Born in 1935 – 1939||80 – 84||$600|
|Born in 1940 – 1944||75 – 79||$400|
|Born in 1945 – 1949||70 – 74||$200|
Merdeka Generation Package: Merdeka Generation seniors can look forward to $1,000 in MediSave top-ups. This will be disbursed over 5 years, from 2019 to 2023.
Additionally, Singaporeans aged 50 and above who do not receive the Merdeka or Pioneer Generation Package will get a MediSave top-up of $100 a year for the next five years.
#3 MediFund: Safety Net With Financial Difficulties With Hospitalisation Bills
The Government is committed to ensuring all Singaporeans have access to quality, affordable healthcare.
MediFund is a medical endowment fund set up by the government as a safety net for Singaporeans who face financial difficulties with their medical bills after exhausting all other means of payment such as MediShield Life, private integrated shield plans, MediSave, and cash.
This is an important (and necessary) scheme because it protects Singaporeans from becoming financially distressed from medical bills.
ElderShield Life & CareShield Life: For Our Long-Term Care During Retirement
MediShield Life provides basic protection against large hospitalisation expenses, but relying solely on that may not cover us against the additional costs if we need long-term care during retirement. Long-term care refers to personal and medical care that a person requires due to severe disability arising from old age or adverse health conditions.
To address this, ElderShield, and from 2020 onwards, CareShield Life, are national schemes which aim to help Singaporeans and Permanent Residents (PRs) cope with the cost of long-term care. You can find out more about the differences between these two schemes here.
Similar to MediShield Life, premiums for both ElderShield and CareShield Life can be paid with funds from our MediSave account. While coverage for both schemes are for life, premiums are payable only till age 65 (ElderShield) and 67 (CareShield Life), so Singapore’s seniors do not have to worry about having to continue paying the annual premium for the schemes when they are older.
Subsidies To Help With Household Day-To-Day Expenses
Beyond these healthcare schemes and subsidies, there are other benefits that retirees can also rely on to help them defray the cost of living. For example, Singaporean HDB Household can always look forward to the quarterly Service & Conservancy Charges (S&CC) rebate, which range from between 1.5 months to 3.5 months, depending on their HDB flat type. The quarterly GST Voucher – U-Save provides subsidies for household utilities. Seniors can also enjoy up to 55% off transport concession fares with the senior citizen concession card.
It helps to be aware of the various government schemes and subsidies that we are eligible for and learn how to make the most out of them. When added up, these subsidies and schemes can significantly help defray our living expenses during retirement.