Govt management of ElderShield among review committee's suggestions

Two elderly women holding hands while negotiating some steps at a hawker centre in Toa Payoh Lorong 8.
Two elderly women holding hands while negotiating some steps at a hawker centre in Toa Payoh Lorong 8.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - One possible model for ElderShield is to have the Government manage the enhanced severe disability insurance scheme, the ElderShield Review Committee said on Thursday (July 6). The idea is based on some of the feedback the committee received during focus group discussions.

Currently, when Singaporeans are auto-enrolled for ElderShield at age 40, they are assigned to one of three private insurers administering the scheme. The three are Aviva, Great Eastern Life Assurance Company, and NTUC Income.

About 600 Singaporeans participated in focus group discussions over the past six months. The suggestions they made include making the administration of ElderShield simpler, such as using a single provider, as is the case with MediShield Life, the review committee said in a statement on Thursday (July 6).

The committee said it sees the merit in studying the value and feasibility of making the Government manage ElderShield while retaining the participation of private insurers in the provision of long-term care insurance. It added that it has made this suggestion to the Ministry of Health.

A claims assessment sub-committee has also been set up to look into ways to improve the ElderShield claims process, and make it easier to navigate for users such as severely disabled patients, caregivers and long-term care providers.

One area for improvement that caregivers have raised is the accessibility of information. Patients are often unaware about their ElderShield coverage or how to make a claim, they said.

To address this, the sub-committee is studying the types of care that severely disabled patients experience in hospitals and other care settings, and to identify key points where important information can be provided. It is also studying how best to work with frontline staff to guide families more effectively through the claims application process.

The sub-committee comprises four members headed by Dr Loh Yik Hin, who is the chief executive of St Andrew's Community Hospital.

Mr Chaly Mah, chairman of the review committee, said feedback from the focus group sessions will be taken into account before the committee makes it recommendations in the first half of next year.