National Day Rally 2016: ElderShield scheme to be reviewed to cover more people, offer more protection

PM Lee said ElderShield was the "one remaining piece to strengthen" to manage the challenges of a rapidly ageing society.
PM Lee said ElderShield was the "one remaining piece to strengthen" to manage the challenges of a rapidly ageing society.PHOTO: MCI

SINGAPORE - The Government will form a committee to review the ElderShield insurance scheme, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said at the National Day Rally on Sunday (Aug 21).

Addressing the audience in Mandarin after giving his Malay speech, Mr Lee said: "We hope ElderShield will be able to cover more people, provide more protection and is affordable."

ElderShield, a national insurance scheme for those with severe disabilities, was started in 2002.

More than 7,000 have benefitted from the scheme since it began, said Mr Lee at the Institute of Technical Education.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) will form a committee to study the insurance scheme, which provides payouts of a few hundred dollars a month to help the families of incapacitated elderly Singaporeans with nursing and care needs, or the cost of hiring a maid.

 
 
 

The Prime Minister highlighted two areas to improve: that the scheme does not cover everyone, and its payouts are limited to six years.

National healthcare coverage was recently enhanced with the implementation of Medishield Life. The insurance scheme now covers pre-existing conditions and payouts have increased.

Support for the elderly has also increased with the Pioneer Generation Package, annuity scheme CPF Life and Silver Support schemes.

Mr Lee said ElderShield was the "one remaining piece to strengthen" to manage the challenges of a rapidly ageing society.

He cited statistics which showed that one in two persons will have a long-term disability, and will not be able to look after themselves at some point in their lives.

"With the enhanced ElderShield, we will have all the components of our social safety net in place," he said.

In March, the People's Action Party Seniors Group had proposed changes to ElderShield. These include making the scheme compulsory, extending the payout period to cover the beneficiary for the rest of his life, and ensuring payouts keep pace with inflation.