SINGAPORE - From Nov 6, eligible Singapore citizens and permanent residents (PRs) born in 1979 or earlier can join CareShield Life, the long-term care insurance scheme to provide basic financial protection against severe disability.
ElderShield 400 policyholders who were born in 1970 to 1979 will be automatically enrolled and do not need to take action, said the Ministry of Health (MOH) in a press release on Thursday (Oct 14).
All others will have to sign up via the CareShield Life website.
CareShield Life - which offers better and longer payouts than ElderShield, which has been around since 2002 - is mandatory for all Singaporeans born in 1980 or later.
These cohorts are automatically covered under the scheme from Oct 1, 2020, or when they turn 30, whichever is later.
More than 740,000 policyholders are currently among the mandatory cohorts on board the scheme.
With one in two Singaporeans aged 65 expected to become severely disabled in his lifetime, the Government in 2018 accepted the recommendations of the ElderShield Review Committee to introduce CareShield Life.
Going forward, all Singapore citizens and PRs born in 1979 or earlier can choose to join the scheme if they are not severely disabled, said MOH.
To make joining CareShield Life more convenient, those born in 1970 to 1979, who are insured under ElderShield 400 and are not severely disabled, will be auto-enrolled onto CareShield Life from Dec 1.
They will receive a welcome package with more information on their coverage and personalised premiums.
Those not in the auto-enrolment group - all other citizens and PRs born in 1979 or earlier who are not severely disabled - can sign up for the scheme here.
The ministry said that auto-enrolment was not extended to them because they consist of ElderShield 300 policyholders, uninsured individuals, and older individuals who will face higher annual premiums compared with the auto-enrolment group.
"They should therefore weigh the costs and benefits, and make a conscious decision to opt into CareShield Life," it said, adding that they can check their personalised premiums on the website before submitting their application to join.
Existing ElderShield policyholders will continue to be covered under ElderShield, if they choose not to upgrade from ElderShield to CareShield Life.
To encourage individuals to join CareShield Life, the Government will provide participation incentives of up to $2,500 to all citizens born in 1979 or earlier who join CareShield Life by Dec 31, 2023.
Additional incentives of $1,500 will be provided to Merdeka and Pioneer generation citizens who join the scheme by this date.
From Nov 1, the Government will take over administration of the ElderShield scheme from private insurers.
There will be no change to policyholders' ElderShield coverage, claim eligibility criteria, or monthly payout quantum.
From Nov 1, ElderShield policyholders can submit requests or inquiries on ElderShield via Write to Us or call the hotline on 1800-222-3399 /+65 6222 3399 (overseas) from Monday to Friday, 8.00am to 5.30pm.
They can submit a claim for ElderShield via the Agency for Integrated Care (AIC) eServices for Financing Schemes portal here, or contact AIC on 1800 650 6060 / +65 6650 6060 (overseas).
From now to Oct 31, ElderShield policyholders should continue to approach their respective insurers for ElderShield matters.
What is CareShield Life?
CareShield Life is a compulsory national long-term care insurance scheme which came into force on Oct 1 last year for all residents born in 1980 or later.
It provides basic financial support should Singaporeans become severely disabled, especially during old age, and need personal and medical care for a prolonged duration.
Such insurance schemes help to pool risks together and ensure protection against potentially catastrophic long-term care costs.
CareShield Life premiums are fully payable by MediSave. Premiums are paid from the age joined until age 67, but Singaporeans remain covered for life. Premiums are waived once they make a successful claim.
Payout is given to a person who is not able to perform three of the six activities of daily living without assistance. The activities are washing, dressing, feeding, going to the toilet, walking or moving around, and moving from bed to chair and vice versa.