Photo of Gan Kim Yong from thestraitstimes

The Ministry of Health (MOH) today (May 27) announced through state media Straits Times that Singaporeans aged 30 and above will now need to pay for a new national insurance, CareShield Life. The new disability insurance is mandatory, and will be replacing the optional ElderShield in 2020.

Singaporean men aged 30 will pay S$206 a year, while women will pay S$253 a year. This payment will continue yearly for the next 37 years until they reach 67 years old.

The new CareShield Life is more expensive than the ElderShield it replaced by an estimated of more than 50%. In ElderShield, the premium for a 40 year old man starts at S$174.96, while CareShield starts for a 30 year old at S$206.

The insurance payout is only S$600 a month, which does not track inflation rate even some 37 years later.

Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said he is only helping Singaporeans:

“Over the past three years, the Government has been preparing Singaporeans for an ageing population, including providing more nursing home and day-care facilities, the Pioneer Generation Package and MediShield Life. This review is another important step in this journey. It is an important strategy for us, an important part of our social safety network for Singaporeans in terms of long-term care. It also reflects the inclusive society that we aspire to build.”

The insurance will paid through CPF Medisave, and those who do not have enough Medisave to pay will need to pay using cash, which will likely affect unemployed family members like housewives and the low income. Those who refuse to pay for the government’s insurance including MediShield Life will be prosecuted in court and jailed if they try to leave Singapore without paying.

There is no statistics presented by the Health Minister how much was the payout and reimbursement amount for ElderShield, to justify the mandatory implementation of CareShield Life.

A Singaporean with a disabled father on long-term care, Yang Kaiheng, commented on the CareShield Life’s S$600/month payout:

“$600/month is peanuts to a patient with severe disabilities. Monthly cost for home medical equipments for bedbound patients (Tracheostomy & PEG feeding) already cost $2k+. Private insurance only covers hospitalisation and surgery fees.”