Tackle flaws in ElderShield scheme

Last July, we received a letter from the Central Provident Fund Board notifying us that my younger brother, who is mentally challenged, had been insured for ElderShield with Great Eastern Life.

After numerous calls to Great Eastern about this, I found out that all Singaporeans would be automatically enrolled in the programme when they turn 40 and have the premium deducted from their Medisave accounts.

However, pre-existing conditions are not covered under the policy. Hence, my brother was not eligible to make claims, even though he had paid the premium.

I was told that my brother's policy would be voided and the premium refunded.

However, the premium was not refunded, and I forgot about it until May this year, when we received a letter from Great Eastern saying that my brother's ElderShield policy was due for renewal and the premium would be automatically deducted from his Medisave account.

I was shocked and called the insurer to clarify. The customer service officer claimed that the ElderShield department had overlooked the refund and forgot to void my brother's policy.

This is an unacceptable mistake.

There are serious loopholes in auto-enrolling all Singaporeans and permanent residents in ElderShield when they turn 40.

I wonder how many physically or mentally challenged people and people with pre-existing conditions have been auto-enrolled and have been paying the premiums yearly, not realising that they are not entitled to make claims. Their money would have been deducted for nothing.

Great Eastern also has to tighten its internal control of complaints/feedback, the claims process and the follow-up afterwards.

Koo Eng Liang

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 06, 2016, with the headline 'Tackle flaws in ElderShield scheme'. Print Edition | Subscribe