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'I don't want to be a financial burden if I develop severe disability'

Volunteer who helps elderly shares how CareShield Life protects the family from distress and is practical planning for the future

Ms Ong YL (pictured with her son) has seen how lack of financial preparation has burdened some seniors and their families, which led her to remain on the CareShield Life insurance scheme. PHOTO: FRENCHESCAR LIM

Since Ms Ong YL started volunteering with the Silver Generation Office in 2017, she has seen how a lack of financial preparation for long-term care needs due to severe disability has burdened some seniors and their families. 

She explains: “Some who are severely disabled are lucky enough to have a spouse or children to help take care of them, but the financial strain on the family can be a lot to bear. They could be looking after the elderly person for the next 10 years or more.”

Her experiences, along with the realisation that she did not want her only child to be placed in a similar situation in her later years, made her decide to remain in the CareShield Life insurance scheme, into which she was automatically enrolled from Dec 1, 2021.

Providing greater peace of mind

Compared to the ElderShield insurance scheme, which the Government introduced in 2002 to defray the cost of long-term care for the severely disabled, CareShield Life is an enhanced scheme that provides better protection, through higher, lifetime payouts.

Ms Ong says: “CareShield Life gives me more peace of mind. Under CareShield Life, you get higher payouts for as long as you remain severely disabled, while ElderShield 400 provides lower payouts for only up to 72 months.”

Emphasising that life is unpredictable, she adds: “Severe disability is prevalent during old age, but may arise when we are younger. You could get a stroke in your 40s, like a friend of mine did. All of these things can be a great pressure, not just on you, but on your family as well.

“I have a husband and a son, and I don’t want to be a financial burden on them if something happens to me and I become severely disabled. At least with CareShield Life, I know that there will be monthly cash payouts for my basic long-term care needs if it becomes necessary.” 

This is why, although she pays a higher annual premium of $347 for CareShield Life after government subsidies, compared with her previous annual premium of about $217 for ElderShield 400, she thinks that the switch is worth it.

She receives 25 per cent means-tested premium subsidies and participation incentives to offset her premiums, which she appreciates with her work as a freelance technical writer. The Government provides several premium support measures for those who need assistance to pay for their CareShield Life premiums.

Protecting against unexpected changes

As part of her volunteer work for the Silver Generation Office, Ms Ong visits the elderly in their homes to check on their well-being and needs, encourages them to stay healthy and active, and introduces them to government schemes that would benefit them.

She has urged them to sign up for CareShield Life too, recommending it as practical planning for the future. “I always say, do it for your family, if not for yourself,” she adds. 

Like Ms Ong, Singaporeans born between 1970 and 1979 who have an ElderShield 400 insurance policy and are not severely disabled, were automatically enrolled into CareShield Life on Dec 1, 2021. Others born in 1979 or earlier who were not auto-enrolled can opt into the scheme, if they are not severely disabled, via careshieldlife.gov.sg/join. Those who join by Dec 31, 2023 can receive participation incentives of up to $4,000 which can help to offset the premiums.

She says: “You can help to protect your family from the financial distress and quarrels over the cost of your long-term care needs, should you end up needing it. Whenever I explain this to the seniors, most of them are very receptive to the idea because they want the best for their families.”

Visit careshieldlife.gov.sg to learn more about CareShield Life and enrol in the scheme.

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