CareShield Life, the new national long-term care insurance scheme, and MediSave Care, which allows cash withdrawals from MediSave accounts for long-term care needs, will be launched on 1 October 2020. These schemes, as well as ElderFund (launched in January 2020), are part of the package of long-term care financing measures which were announced in 2019 to provide greater protection and assurance for Singaporeans’ long-term care needs.
2. CareShield Life provides universal long-term care coverage for all Singapore Residents born in 1980 or later, including those with pre-existing disabilities. Under CareShield Life, policy holders will receive monthly cash payouts to support their care needs should they become severely disabled. These payouts will increase annually until age 67 or when a successful claim is made, whichever is earlier. Singapore Residents aged 30 to 40 in 2020 will be the first cohorts to join the scheme, on 1 October 2020 or their 30th birthday, whichever is later. Subsequent cohorts will join the scheme when they reach the age of 30. For Singapore Residents born in 1979 or earlier, the scheme is optional and details on when these cohorts can join CareShield Life will be released in 2021.
3. Under MediSave Care, Singapore Residents aged 30 and above will be able to tap on their own and/or their spouse’s MediSave accounts to withdraw cash of up to $200 per month for their long-term care needs.
4. Commenting on the launch of both schemes, Minister for Health Mr Gan Kim Yong said, “As our population ages, we want to ensure that Singaporeans continue to have accessible and affordable long-term care. With CareShield Life, severely disabled Singaporeans can be assured that they will receive financial support for life. They will also have another avenue to fund their long-term care needs, by tapping on their MediSave savings under MediSave Care. Together with ElderFund, which provides discretionary government assistance to lower-income, severely disabled Singapore Citizens, these schemes will collectively enhance support for long-term care costs.”
Appointment of CareShield Life Council
5. The CareShield Life Council has been appointed from 1 April 2020 to oversee and advise on the administration and sustainability of CareShield Life and ElderShield schemes. The Council’s Terms of Reference are:
• Make recommendations on policy and scheme parameters, including premium and benefit adjustments, to ensure that CareShield Life and ElderShield provide effective protection in an affordable and sustainable manner.
• Review the administration of the CareShield Life and ElderShield schemes.
• Advise on matters related to the investment of the CareShield Life and ElderShield Insurance Fund (CEIF), and other matters as the Minister for Health may direct.
6. Ms Jeanette Wong, the previous Group Executive, Institutional Banking Group, DBS, and Board Member of UBS Group AG, was appointed Chairperson of the Council. The rest of the CareShield Life Council comprises 13 members from a variety of fields, such as accountancy, actuarial science, investment, medicine, law, union, and government. This ensures that the Council can benefit from the diverse range of expertise and experiences of the members. The full list of the CareShield Life Council members is at Annex B.
7. On behalf of the Council, Ms Wong said, “CareShield Life and ElderShield are key pillars of Singapore’s social safety net for our long-term care needs should any of us become severely disabled, including in our old age. My Council members and I look forward to working together with the Ministry of Health and various stakeholders to help ensure the schemes’ relevance and sustainability.”
8. The Council has been appointed for a term of three years, from 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2023.
CareShield Life to provide better protection for long-term care needs
9. Under CareShield Life, Singaporeans will enjoy longer and greater coverage than the current ElderShield scheme. They will be able to benefit from these features:
• Lifetime cash payouts. CareShield Life policyholders can receive cash payouts for as long as they remain severely disabled.
• Payouts increase over time. Payouts start at $600 per month in 2020 and increase annually until age 67 or when a successful claim is made, whichever is earlier.
• Use of MediSave for Premiums. Singapore Residents can use their MediSave to pay for their CareShield Life premiums and that of their approved dependents.
• Premium Support Measures. No one will lose coverage because of an inability to pay their premiums. The government will provide the following premium support measures to ensure that premiums remain affordable.
i. Permanent Means-Tested Subsidies for lower- to middle-income Singapore Residents. Up to two-thirds of households will be eligible for CareShield Life premium subsidies of up to 30%. More details are at Annex A.
ii. Additional Premium Support. Singapore Citizens in financial need who are unable to pay for their premiums even after the premium subsidies can apply for Additional Premium Support from the government.
10. Singapore Residents born in 1980 or later will be automatically covered under CareShield Life. Of this group, those who are enrolled within the first five years of scheme launch (i.e. 2020 to 2024) will also receive up to $250 in transitional subsidies. More details are at Annex A. The first cohorts to join the scheme (i.e. those aged 30 to 40 in 2020) will receive a CareShield Life welcome package by 2 September 2020 or up to two months before their 30th birthday, whichever is later. Subsequent cohorts will also receive a CareShield Life welcome package before they reach age 30. More information on one’s CareShield Life coverage and personalised premiums can found in the welcome package, or at www.careshieldlife.gov.sg.
11. Singapore Residents born in 1979 or earlier do not need to take any action now. They will have the opportunity to join CareShield Life, including switching from ElderShield, closer to end-2021. More details will be released in 2021.
12. CareShield Life will be administered by the Central Provident Fund (CPF) Board and Agency for Integrated Care (AIC). The two agencies will also administer ElderShield when it is transferred to the government in 2021. This will facilitate a smoother upgrading from ElderShield to CareShield Life, for those who choose to do so.
13. In addition to insurance and government assistance, Singaporeans will also be able to draw on their personal savings for long-term care needs. From 1 October 2020, severely disabled Singapore Residents aged 30 and above will be able to tap on their own and/or their spouse’s MediSave accounts for their long-term care needs, under MediSave Care.
14. Eligible Singapore Residents can withdraw up to a total of $2,400 per year in cash (i.e. $200 per month) from their own and/or their spouse’s MediSave accounts to supplement their long-term care needs, depending on their MediSave balances. More details are at Annex C. A minimum of $5,000 has to be set aside in the MediSave account, to ensure sufficient savings for other medical expenses such as hospitalisation and selected costly outpatient treatments. Individuals who have insufficient MediSave balances can tap on their spouse’s MediSave account to supplement the withdrawal, up to a combined total of $200 per month. MediSave Care will also be jointly administered by AIC and CPFB.
How to apply for CareShield Life claims and MediSave Care
15. Claim applications for both schemes will open from 1 October 2020 onwards. Interested applicants should arrange for a disability assessment by a MOH-accredited severe disability assessor and submit the scheme(s) application to AIC. For more details on the claims application process for CareShield Life and MediSave Care, please refer to www.aic.sg/CareShieldLife and www.aic.sg/MediSaveCare, respectively.
MINISTRY OF HEALTH
28 AUGUST 2020