Parliament: PM Lee says aim is for CPF Life payouts to keep pace with inflation

The Central Provident Fund (CPF) building on Robinson Road. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong set out how the Government is going to help Singaporeans be more financially secure in their retirement years, with one way being by carefully studyi
The Central Provident Fund (CPF) building on Robinson Road. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong set out how the Government is going to help Singaporeans be more financially secure in their retirement years, with one way being by carefully studying how to improve the CPF and CPF Life annuity scheme so that payouts keep pace with cost of living. -- PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong set out how the Government is going to help Singaporeans be more financially secure in their retirement years.

He cited three ways when he spoke during Parliament's debate on the President's Address on Wednesday.

First, the Government will work towards raising the re-employment age beyond 65 within a few years, to make it easier for those who wish to work longer to do so.

Second, older Singaporeans will get help to unlock the savings in their flats.

"Many Singaporeans have significant savings in their flats...yet some still feel asset rich, cash poor," said Mr Lee. He added that the Ministry of National Development is studying how to improve the current monetisation schemes for flats and how to increase their take-up rates.

Third, the Government is carefully studying how to improve the Central Provident Fund (CPF) and CPF Life annuity scheme so that payouts keep pace with cost of living.

Lower-income groups, in particular, will be given stronger reassurance. More details will be given at this year's National Day Rally, traditionally held in August.

Mr Lee also said that MediShield Life, the upcoming universal medical insurance programme, will be debated in July when Parliament next meets.

"Because coverage is better, premiums will have to go up...we will make sure premiums will be affordable for all," he said.

"MediShield Life is a very complex undertaking. We must get many important details right and we must ensure that people understand how it works, and how it affects them individually," he added.

Mr Lee specifically addressed government pensioners who worry about having to pay MediShield Life premiums in the future. They currently enjoy comprehensive medical benefits for themselves and their dependents.

This group of retirees cannot opt out from MediShield Life which is universal and compulsory, said Mr Lee, but the Government will make sure that they are not adversely affected.

The Public Service Division and the unions will study carefully how to help this group of pensioners, and announce details after the MediShield Life report is out.

The National Wages Council is also looking into helping Singaporeans with MediShield Life premiums as part of its wage guidelines this year, he said.