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CareShield Life Guide 2024: What It Is & How to Make the Most of It

careshield life singapore
careshield life singapore

By 2050, nearly half of Singapore’s population will be at least 65 years old. With an ageing population, Singapore is bracing for a surge in healthcare spending. It’s vital that we, as individuals, gear up to shoulder our healthcare expenses. 

Though schemes like MediSave and MediShield Life have been our trusty aids in affording medical care, they might fall short when it comes to our long-term care needs, especially if we’re thrown a curveball in the form of age or health-related disabilities. 

CareShield Life was birthed in 2020 to help with the potential needs of an increasingly elderly demographic. Four years on, we examine the effectiveness of this new policy. CareShield Life, is the disability insurance scheme tailor-made to handle our personal and medical expenses in such situations. Let’s review its relevance and impact for the present.

What is CareShield Life? 

An estimated 1 in 2 healthy Singaporeans aged 65 could become severely disabled before they die. Severely disabled refers to individuals who need help with eating, going to the toilet or walking around—activities that require a caregiver of some kind.

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CareShield Life is a disability insurance scheme launched by the government in October 2020. In the event of severe disability, CareShield Life will pay out a monthly income, even if the Singaporean or Singapore Permanent Resident is living overseas.

What qualifies as “severely disabled”? 

CareShield Life defines this as the inability to perform at least 3 out of 6 Activities of Daily Living (ADLs). They are:

  • Washing – Washing in the bath or shower (including getting in and out) or by other means

  • Dressing – Putting on, removing, securing and fastening all clothes, braces, artificial limbs or other surgical or medical appliances

  • Feeding – Feeding yourself prepared and available food

  • Toileting – Using the toilet and managing bowel and bladder function through the use of protective undergarments or surgical appliances if appropriate

  • Walking or moving around – Moving indoors from room to room on level surfaces

  • Transferring – Moving from a bed to an upright chair or wheelchair and vice versa

An individual is entitled to CareShield Life payouts if he/she is unable to perform at least 3 of the above. However, one can’t simply claim that you’re unable to perform 3 out of 6 ADLs and expect to receive your first payout. To make a claim, a person needs to be officially assessed by an MOH-accredited severe disability assessor.

The assessment costs $100 at a clinic and $250 if the assessor travels to your home, but this fee is waived if it is your first assessment for applying for CareShield Life. If a person is found to be severely disabled, the full assessment fee will be reimbursed with your first payout. If he/she is assessed as mildly or moderately disabled, fret not, they might still qualify for help like the Home Caregiving Grant and FDW Levy Concession.

Those living in nursing homes can get the home to submit a Resident’s Assessment Form, which can replace the severe disability assessment. Once they have been assessed as severely disabled, they can then submit a claim application form to the Agency for Integrated Care (AIC) by logging in here with your SingPass.

If an individual has a private CareShield Life supplement plan, the agent might be able to help with the claim. However, the procedure will be fairly similar.

Who is eligible for Careshield Life?

The scheme will automatically cover Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents born in 1980 and later, from the age of 30 onwards. (Not yet 30? You will receive a notification letter 2 months before your 30th birthday.)

Once enrolled, it is mandatory and you cannot opt out. For those born in 1979 or earlier:

  • Your participation in CareShield Life is optional. You can choose to join CareShield Life, regardless of your age, as long as you have not developed severe disability.

  • If you were born between 1970 and 1979, insured under ElderShield 400, and have not developed severe disability, you would have already been automatically enrolled on CareShield Life from 1 December 2021. 

Update on CareShield Life Participation Incentives

The Ministry of Health (MOH) of Singapore is extending the participation incentives for the CareShield Life insurance scheme for another year. This allows Singapore citizens born before 1980, who aren’t severely disabled, to receive up to $3,000 to offset premiums over ten years if they join CareShield Life between 1 January and 31 December 2024.

Let’s not forget the previously announced incentives, which are even higher – up to $4,000 – still apply for those who enrol by 31 December 2023. Since November 2021, over 205,000 Singaporeans have benefitted from these incentives.

Another good news is that CareShield Life premiums can be fully paid for with MediSave, and the Government is stepping up to offer means-tested premium subsidies to ensure the premiums stay affordable.

CareShield vs ElderShield – which is better?

CareShield Life replaces ElderShield, the government’s previous disability insurance scheme. It is a much better insurance plan, with higher and longer payouts.

ElderShield 

CareShield Life

Monthly payouts

$300 to $400

From $600

Payout period

5 to 6 years

No limit

Entry age

Age 40

Age 30

Annual premiums

Lower

Higher

Premium term

Up to age 65

Up to age 67

For starters, CareShield Life raises ElderShield’s monthly payouts of $300 to $400 to $600, a sum which will be adjusted upwards over the years to account for the rising cost of living. While ElderShield’s benefits are paid out over five to six years, CareShield’s Life will be payable for life, or as long as the severe disability persists.

You start contributing to CareShield Life when you turn 30, whilst payments for ElderShield begin at 40 years old. You continue to pay for CareShield Life until you’re 67 years old, but only until 65 years old for ElderShield. 

The premium for CareShield Life is generally higher than that of ElderShield’s and will keep increasing until you turn 67 years old, unless you make a claim. This increase in payments over time is due to rising healthcare expenses and the growing likelihood of becoming disabled as you age which will be used to fund potential future payouts should the need arise.

MediShield vs MediSave: A Complete Comparison

When it comes to public healthcare coverage in Singapore, every citizen will be covered under these two schemes: MediSave and MediShield Life. Each plays an essential role and caters to different dimensions of the system.

While CareShield Life sounds too similar to MediShield Life, the coverage does not overlap. CareShield Life pays out cash to help with your living expenses. MediShield Life and MediSave, on the other hand, only cover medical expenses as and when they’re incurred. You don’t get a payout in cash.

Criteria

MediShield

MediSave

Purpose

A national medical insurance scheme designed to cover large hospital bills and certain costly outpatient treatments.

A national medical savings scheme that allows individuals to put aside part of their income for personal or dependents’ healthcare expenses.

Funding

Premiums can be paid using MediSave.

Funded by a portion of your monthly wages via CPF

Coverage

Provides coverage for all Singapore citizens and Permanent Residents, regardless of age or health condition.

Can be used by the account holder and immediate family members, including spouse, children, parents, and grandparents.

Claim Limits

Annual claim limit of $100,000. No lifetime limit.

Withdrawal limits apply, depending on the type of treatment/care needed.

Benefits

Provides payouts for hospitalisation expenses, certain outpatient treatments, and surgery.

Can be used to pay for a wide range of healthcare services, including hospitalisation, certain outpatient treatments, and approved healthcare insurance premiums.

Non-Coverable Items

Does not cover outpatient expenses (except for certain approved treatments), private nursing, cosmetic surgery, etc.

Does not cover treatment and services like cosmetic surgery, purchase of health supplements, dental procedures (unless surgical), etc.

Premium Payment

Premiums increase with age and can be paid using MediSave.

No premiums. Contributions increase with wage increases.

MediSave works like a personal healthcare savings account, helping individuals stash away funds for future healthcare needs. This could be for their own hospitalisation, day surgery, certain outpatient procedures, and approved insurance plans, including MediShield Life.

On the other hand, MediShield Life serves as a basic health insurance plan, offering safeguards against high-cost medical care. It’s designed to cover substantial hospital bills and certain pricey outpatient treatments like dialysis and chemotherapy for cancer.

When someone asks if you would pick up the $10 bill or $50 bill on the ground, every good Singaporean will pick up both! Similarly, it’s good to utilise both schemes, as they address different aspects of healthcare needs. You never know which one would come in handy.

How Much Are Careshield Life Premiums?

At 30, premiums start at $206 for men and $253 for women. It will be expected to rise by 2% every year until 67. You can pay for your premiums fully using MediSave. Once you qualify as severely disabled and start receiving payouts from CareShield Life, you are no longer required to pay any premiums.

How Much Does Careshield Life Pay Out?

After being enrolled in the CareShield Life scheme and paying the premiums, a severely disabled individual can claim monthly payouts for as long as he/she remains severely disabled. 

When the scheme was launched in 2020, the monthly payout was set at $600. The payout rises 2% per year from 2020 to 2025.

CareShield Life monthly payout

2020

$600 

2021

$612 

2022

$624

2023

$637

2024

$649

2025

$662

From 2026 onwards, CareShield Life payouts will be adjusted depending on recommendations following a review of the premium adjustments based on factors like:

  • Claim Experience

  • Changes in life expectancy

  • Disability trends

However, once you make a successful claim or hit the age of 67 years old, whichever is earlier, your CareShield Life payout amounts will be fixed.

Should You Upgrade Your Careshield Life?

Under the default CareShield Life scheme, monthly payouts are rather low. $612 a month only sounds decent if you’re young and temporarily disabled, with the option to return to work once you recover.

However, if you’re old and going to be disabled for the long term, it’s pretty dismal. Especially since the amount remains fixed once you start receiving payouts.

Surprisingly, recent data reveals that most beneficiaries of CareShield Life are actually in their thirties, comprising over half of the recipients of the payout. This challenges the assumption that long-term disability insurance is mainly for the elderly. 

We found that these younger recipients often have chronic conditions from birth, hindering their ability to execute at least three of the six essential daily tasks, such as bathing and walking.

According to the Ministry of Health, 90 people first received their monthly payouts in 2020. This figure rose to 353 in 2021 and further escalated to 638 in 2022. The recipients’ ages varied from 30 to 88, with the median age being 39 years.

Good news! You can enhance your CareShield Life protection by purchasing a CareShield Life supplement from one of 3 private insurers: Great Eastern, Singlife with Aviva or NTUC Income. They have the following benefits:

  • They make it easier to qualify for disability income by lowering the number of ADLs from 3 to 2 (or even 1)

  • They increase your monthly payouts to a more comfortable amount of your choice

  • Some plans allow you to choose increasing payouts to match inflation

  • You can use up to $600 a year from MediSave to pay the additional premiums

The Ministry of Health mandates that CareShield Life is compulsory for all born after 1980. However, those born before 1980 have the option to choose if they want to opt in for robust protection against severe disability.

How to Decide On A Careshield Life Supplement?

When buying a CareShield Life supplement, you need to decide how much disability income you want. Given the uncertainty of long-term care costs and the duration of severe disability should this happen to us, working out this amount can be difficult.

In the best-case scenario, you have a family member willing to care for you for free. But you’d still need enough for your daily living expenses, mobility aids, transport and so on. On the other hand, your disability could be so severe that you need to be placed in a nursing home. This can cost thousands of dollars a month.

In any case, you should have a number in mind before you start comparing. It’s relatively simple to compare providers since there are only 3 insurers.

Read more: CareShield Life Supplement Comparison: NTUC vs Aviva vs Great Eastern

What About the Integrated Shield Plans?

Having disability insurance like CareShield Life is good, but only if your health insurance is settled first. As the government’s MediShield Life only offers basic coverage, we highly recommend opting for an Integrated Shield plan to supplement your health insurance

This plan serves as a private medical insurance policy, enhancing your existing coverage under MediShield Life. It achieves this by coupling MediShield Life with an added layer of private insurance coverage, provided by a private insurer. There are various plans are available for you to make a full comparison of Intergrated Shield Plans:

Basic Plans

  1. MediShield Life

  2. Income IncomeShield Plan C*

  3. Income Enhanced IncomeShield C*

Standard Integrated Shield Plan (for Public Hospital Class B1 coverage)

  1. Income IncomeShield Standard Plan

  2. AIA HealthShield Gold Max Standard Plan

  3. Great Eastern GREAT SupremeHealth STANDARD

  4. Prudential PRUShield Standard Plan

  5. Singlife Shield Standard Plan

  6. HSBC Life Shield Standard Plan

  7. Raffles Shield Standard Plan

Class B1 Plans

  1. Income IncomeShield Plan B*

  2. Income Enhanced IncomeShield Basic

  3. AIA HealthShield Gold Max C*

  4. AIA HealthShield Gold Max B Lite

  5. Great Eastern GREAT SupremeHealth B*

  6. Great Eastern GREAT SupremeHealth B Plus

  7. Prudential PRUShield B*

  8. Singlife Shield Plan 3

  9. Raffles Shield B

Class A Plans

  1. Income IncomeShield Plan A*

  2. Income Enhanced IncomeShield Advantage

  3. AIA HealthShield Gold Max B

  4. Great Eastern GREAT SupremeHealth A Plus

  5. Prudential PRUShield A*

  6. Prudential PRUShield Plus

  7. Singlife Shield Plan 2

  8. HSBC Life Shield Plan B

  9. Raffles Shield A

Private Hospitals Plans

  1. Income IncomeShield Plan P*

  2. Income Enhanced IncomeShield Preferred

  3. AIA HealthShield Gold Max A

  4. Great Eastern GREAT SupremeHealth A*

  5. Great Eastern GREAT SupremeHealth P Plus

  6. Prudential PRUShield Premier

  7. Singlife Shield Plan 1

  8. Singlife Shield Starter

  9. HSBC Life Shield Plan A

  10. Raffles Shield Private

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

All plans marked with an asterisk (*) above are no longer offered to new members. Existing members may continue to renew their policies.

  • The total lifetime premiums are computed by summing up the premiums from the next age birthday (ANB) 1 to 100, based on premium tables set by insurers as of 1 April 2024. Please note that this amount does not include premiums for the MediShield Life component of Integrated Plans (IPs) or any rider premiums. For simplicity, figures are rounded to the nearest hundred.

  • All figures provided here are intended solely for general informational and educational purposes.

  • Please be aware that the actual amount may fluctuate over time as insurers may regularly revise premiums.

  • It’s also important to note that coverage may vary among different IPs, excluding Standard IPs. When choosing an IP, it’s crucial to consider both your coverage needs and your ability to afford the premiums.

  • Lastly, closed IPs that are no longer available to new members are not included in this document. If you have a closed IP, please get in touch with your insurer for information on lifetime premiums.

 

For those with dependents, consider sorting out your life insurance. This ensures that they will still have a roof over their heads and some money to live on should one die an untimely death.

Once that’s sorted, you can move on to disability insurance to beef up your protection further. Consider opting for a CareShield Life Supplement if you can afford it. It covers severe disability at any age (not just when you’re old) so think of it as a hedge against accidents as well.

But if you’ve reached your limit for insurance spending and are relatively young, you can always postpone the purchase of a CareShield Life supplement to a later age.

Prudential logo
Prudential logo

Best For Young Individuals & Covers COVID-19

Prudential PRUShield

Max. Annual Coverage Limit

S$1,200,000

Pre-Hospitalisation Benefit

180 days

Post-Hospitalisation Benefit

365 days

Apply NowApply directly on MoneySmart

More Details

Key Features

  • Up to S$1.2 million in annual coverage claim limit for PRUShield Premier for private hospitals, S$600,000 for PRUShield Plus for class A wards and below in public restructured hospitals, and S$150,000 for PRUShield Standard for class B1 wards and below in public restructured hospitals

  • Full “As Charged” coverage for MediShield-approved surgeries listed in the table of surgical procedures from Table 1A to 7C, and includes day surgeries that does not require you to be warded overnight

  • Coverage for treatments or follow-up treatments related to your inpatient hospitalisation stay for 180 days pre-hospitalisation and 365 days post-hospitalisation

  • Coverage for outpatient radiotherapy, chemotherapy, immunotherapy cancer treatments, kidney dialysis and erythropoietin

  • Other benefits include emergency overseas medical treatments, congenital abnormalities, inpatient psychiatric treatment, inpatient accidental dental treatments, and short stay wards

  • Claims-based pricing: Premiums will not rise year-on-year and will remain as stipulated in your policy contract’s schedule of premiums unless you make a claim – which will increase as stipulated in the claims multiplier table

  • PRUExtra series of riders grants you access to specialists and hospitals under the PRUPanel Connect medical concierge for easy appointment bookings

See all details 

AIA logo
AIA logo

Covers critical illnesses and Covid-19

AIA HealthShield Gold Max

Max. Annual Coverage Limit

S$2,000,000

Pre-Hospitalisation Benefit

100 days

Post-Hospitalisation Benefit

100 days

Apply NowApply directly on MoneySmart

More Details

Key Features

  • Pre-Hospitalisation: Treatment bills covered fully aka “As Charged” within 100 to 180 days prior to hospitalisation stay

  • Hospitalisation: Daily room, ICU, community hospital covered fully

  • Post-Hospitalisation: Treatments covered fully within 100 to 180 days, or up to 13 months after hospitalisation for plan A holders seeking treatments with AIA panel doctors

  • Critical Illnesses: Coverage for 30 critical illnesses within 100 days post-hospitalisation, bills covered fully

  • Surgery: Covers all MediSave-listed surgical procedures, including organ and stem cell transplant, and surgical implants

  • Pregnancy Complications: Fully covers 26 pregnancy complications, including ectopic pregnancy, eclampsia, miscarriage, haemorrhage, still birth, gestational diabetes, and more.

  • Newborn Congenital Abnormalities: Covers S$3,000 to S$5,000 per child for female insured’s biological child

  • Organ Transplant: From S$20,000 to S$60,000 coverage per transplant if you are the donor or recipient

  • Psychiatric Treatment: From S$1,000 to S$5,000 coverage for in- and post-hospital psychiatric treatments per policy year

See all details 

Great Eastern logo
Great Eastern logo

Best High Value Plans & Covers COVID-19

Great Eastern SupremeHealth

Max. Annual Coverage Limit

S$1,500,000

Pre-Hospitalisation Benefit

120 days

Post-Hospitalisation Benefit

365 days

Apply NowApply directly on MoneySmart

More Details

Key Features

  • Great Eastern Supreme Health is an Integrated Shield Plan (IP) for Singaporean citizens and Permanent Residents (PRs) to supplement their MediShield Life health insurance plan that is provided by Singapore’s Ministry of Health

  • 3 types of Great Eastern SupremeHealth plans, namely Standard, B Plus, A Plus, and P Plus for incremental medical treatment coverage and access to wards in public and private hospitals

  • Access to Great Eastern HealthConnect, an over-the-phone or email medical concierge service to help you book medical consultation appointments with Great Eastern panel doctors, clinics, and hospitals

  • Full coverage aka “As Charged” coverage for your daily hospitalisation ward, board, Intensive Care Unit (ICU), short stay wards in public hospitals, and community hospital stays, including miscellaneous fees such as meals, prescription, doctors’ fees, etc.

  • Pre-hospitalisation coverage for specialists’ consultations within 120 days prior to your hospital admission

  • Post-hospitalisation coverage for referred treatments within 365 days after your hospital discharge. From the 180th to 365th day, your post-hospitalisation treatment has take place in a restructured hospital with pre-authorisation letter

  • Post-hospitalisation coverage for psychiatric treatments, speech and occupational therapy within 180 days after your hospital discharge

  • Outpatient cancer coverage for chemotherapy, stereotactic radiotherapy, immunotherapy, and radiotherapy

  • Outpatient coverage for kidney dialysis, immunosuppressants for organ transplant, erythropoietin, and long-term parenteral nutrition

  • Organ donation to your family members or transplant benefits between S$20,000 and S$60,000 depending on your plan

  • Benefits for congenital abnormalities for yourself and your biological child (for female individuals)

  • Emergency medical treatment overseas coverage, has to be a life or death situation (prices of treatments received abroad will be charged to equivalent treatments’ prices in Singapore public hospitals)

See all details 

Raffles Health Insurance logo
Raffles Health Insurance logo

Covers COVID-19

Raffles Shield

Max. Annual Coverage Limit

S$1,500,000

Pre-Hospitalisation Benefit

180 days

Post-Hospitalisation Benefit

365 days

Apply NowApply directly on MoneySmart

More Details

Key Features

  • Full “As Charged” coverage for your daily ward, Intensive Care Unit (ICU) charges in the hospital, and community hospitals for plans Private, A, and B

  • Full “As Charged” coverage for MediShield-approved surgeries listed in the MInistry of Health’s table of surgical procedures Table 1A to 7C

  • Coverage for inpatient psychiatric treatment, accidental inpatient dental treatment

  • Coverage for outpatient kidney dialysis, cancer drug treatments, immunotherapy, stereotactic radiotherapy, erythropoietin, and immunosuppressants for organ transplant

  • Includes coverage for treatments sought 180 days prior to your hospitalisation (you must keep the reports and bills, and they must be related to your actual hospitalisation stay)

  • Includes coverage for treatments sought 365 days after your hospitalisation (at Raffles Panel clinics)

  • Coverage for major organ transplant, stem cell transplant, and living donor organ transplants

  • Includes coverage for 6 pregnancy complications, breast reconstruction after a breast cancer-related mastectomy, congenital abnormalities for you

  • Includes coverage for emergency overseas medical treatment, HIV contracted due to blood transfusion or occupation

  • Only outpatient cancer drug treatments on the CDL (http://go.gov.sg/moh-cancerdruglist) will be claimable under the Policy, up to the treatment specific benefit limits. Note that where there are changes to the CDL, the prevailing limits or listing based on the date of treatment will apply.

  • The Cancer Drug Services benefit limit is based on a multiple of the MediShield Life limit for Cancer Drug Services. For the latest MediShield Life limit for Cancer Drug Services, refer to “Cancer Drug Services” under the MediShield Life Benefits on MOH’s website (https://go.gov.sg/mshlbenefits). MOH may update this from time to time. The revised limit will be applicable to the Cancer Drug Services incurred within the Policy Year of the revised limit. Cancer drug services refer to services that are part of cancer drug treatment, including consultations, scans, lab investigations, treatment preparation and administration, supportive care drugs and blood transfusions. Cancer Drug Services incurred before the cancer is diagnosed, after the cancer has gone into remission, or once the course of treatment has ceased, will not be covered.

See all details 

Found this article useful? Share it with anyone who’s eligible for CareShield Life.

The post CareShield Life Guide 2024: What It Is & How to Make the Most of It appeared first on the MoneySmart blog.

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Original article: CareShield Life Guide 2024: What It Is & How to Make the Most of It.

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