One of the highlights of this recent National Day Rally 2018 was when PM Lee spent some time during the rally getting nostalgic and recollecting Singapore’s early independence history in 1950s. At this juncture, when we knew that something was in store for those born in the 1950s.
This was how the Merdeka Generation Package was announced.
In case you are wondering, no details about the benefits of the Merdeka Generation Package, nor how much it would cost, was announced. Details will be made known by the Ministry of Health (MOH) at a later date.
However, PM Lee did mention that many of the benefits will be similar to what’s included in the Pioneer Generation Package, though the extent of the benefits may be lesser.
Who Qualifies For The Merdeka Generation Package?
Singaporeans born between the year 1950 to 1959 will qualify for the Merdeka Generation Package. This means Singaporeans who are aged 59 to 68, as of 2018. According to PM Lee, there are 500,000 such Singaporeans who will qualify.
Though details have not been announced, it’s reasonable to expect that the benefits to be introduced for the Merdeka Generation will not go beyond that of which the Pioneer Generation (those born 1949 or earlier) are getting. Hence, we can rely on existing details about the Pioneer Generation Package to give us a clue on what to expect.
Understanding The Pioneer Generation Package
The Pioneer Generation Package consists of 4 key areas. These are 1) outpatient care subsidies, 2) MediShield Life premium subsidies 3) Medisave top-ups, and 4) disability income assistance.
# 1 Subsidies For Outpatient Care?
Pioneers receive additional subsidies on top of existing subsidised services and medication at polyclinics & Specialist Outpatient Clinics. They also enjoy subsidies at participating GP and dental clinics under CHAS. These subsidies can be significant.
In a previous article, we wrote about how the combination of CHAS and the benefits offered under the pioneer generation package could even result in the schemes being abuse.
This affirms that the benefits offered are by no means negligible, and the Merdeka Generation can look forward to what could be in store for them under subsidies for outpatient care, if it materialises.
# 2 Lifelong MediSave Top-Ups?
Pioneers receive MediSave top-ups in their MediSave Accounts annually for life. The amount of MediSave top-ups are segmented by cohorts. Older cohorts receive higher top-ups compared to younger cohorts.
If this benefit extents to the Merdeka Generation, they can expect some form of MediSave top-ups. This will be useful for coping with their future medical bills such as insurance premiums, hospitalisation bills, cost of outpatient treatments or even severe disability payouts, particularly after they have retired and no longer have regular Medisave contributions.
# 3 MediShield Life Premium Subsidies?
MediShield Life is a basic, compulsory hospitalisation insurance policies that covers all Singaporeans and Permanent Residents (PRs), regardless of whether or not an individual has any pre-existing conditions.
Currently, all pioneers receive special premium subsidies of between 40 to 60%. These premium subsidies are in addition to the MediSave top-ups they also receive (see point 2).
With the cost of insurance, especially private insurance, increasing significantly due to the unexpected hike in medical inflation, MediShield Life premium subsidies will no doubt be warmly welcome by the Merdeka Generation.
# 4 Additional Disability Assistance?
Pioneers who are unable to perform 3 out of 6 activities of daily living will qualify to receive a payout of $100 a month, or $1,200 a year. This payout is in cash, and can be used as the individual or his/her caregiver deems fit. This is under the Pioneer Generation Disability Assistance Scheme.
Unlike the other benefits mentioned above, this scheme is only applicable to those 1) who have moderate to severe functional disabilities, and 2) who qualify based on the age limit defined under the Pioneer Generation.
Will this extend to the Merdeka Generation?
If so, this essentially means that any Merdeka Generation individual will receive additional payouts if they are severely disabled. The disability assistance payouts will be on top of whatever they may also be receiving from ElderShield or CareShield Life.
And since one in two healthy Singaporeans aged 65 today could become severely disabled in their lifetime, any additional disability assistance income could be useful for the future.
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