Photo of Chee Hong Tat from Ngau Kai Yan CNA

A health economist from the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy (LKYSPP) has slammed the Eldershield insurance as inadequate and too hard to be qualified even when a Singaporean try to make a claim. Professor Dr Phua Kai Hong said that the insurance payout of S$400 a month is less than half of the average monthly spending required for long-term care, which is at least more than S$1,000 a month:

“The payouts may have to be raised to cover at least half of the average monthly cost of providing intermediate or long-term care, which could come up to more than S$1,000.”

The professor also slammed the government for making the insurance scheme too hard to claim, with standards dubiously vague and not as well-defined as Japan’s disability definitions:

“Eligibility for the payouts has to be better defined. Currently, payouts are given to those who cannot independently perform at least three of six activities of daily living – washing, dressing, feeding, toileting, moving around or transferring oneself from a bed to a chair. The standard is used by the approved private insurers which offer such disability insurance schemes. The criteria is over-simplified compared to case management in other countries like Japan that use more complex matrices that account for factors like changes in severity of disabilities and level of social and financial support.”

Several financial advisers, including the Executive Director of the Disabled People’s Association, also slammed the Eldershield saying the S$400 payout is too low and the 6 years duration is too short.

The government-appointed review committee for Eldershield has recommended Senior Minister Chee Hong Tat to make the insurance scheme compulsory and lower the mandatory age from 40 to 30 years old. The Chairman of the review committee, Chaly Mah, said that he wanted Singaporeans to pay a higher premium from the existing fees that could cost up to S$3,000 a year for retirees.