SINGAPORE - The Government will run ElderShield from 2021 after reaching an agreement with Aviva, Great Eastern and NTUC Income, the private insurers currently administering the insurance scheme for people with severe disabilities.
In a statement on Monday (Jan 7), the Ministry of Health (MOH) said that the Government will operate the scheme on a not-for-profit basis.
"In the event that the actual claims experience turns out better than expected, there will continue to be premium rebates for ElderShield policyholders."
With the change, MOH said ElderShield policyholders will be able to make the switch to CareShield Life more smoothly. The private insurers are currently serving 1.3 million policyholders.
CareShield Life, a new compulsory government-run scheme, will be implemented from 2020 for everyone between the ages of 30 and 40. It is intended to replace the optional ElderShield scheme.
Existing cohorts born in 1979 or earlier with ElderShield have the option of switching to CareShield Life from 2021 as well, when the Government takes over the running of the ElderShield scheme.
The ElderShield Review Committee, which had in January 2018 recommended that the Government run the ElderShield scheme, welcomed the announcement.
The committee's chairman, Mr Chaly Mah, encouraged the three private insurers to work with the Government to ensure a smooth transfer.
"We had earlier noted in our report that there is value for all ElderShield and CareShield Life policyholders to be serviced by the same administrator to ensure consistency in policy administration," he said.
With the Government running the scheme, Mr Mah said that the improvements in claim processes that the committee recommended for CareShield Life can now be implemented for ElderShield as well.
This includes a new assessment framework that takes cognitive impairments into account.
The improvements will benefit even those who choose not to switch to CareShield Life and they will continue to be covered under their current ElderShield policies.
MOH said the private insurers will transfer to the Government the liabilities and corresponding assets backing these liabilities for all policies under the ElderShield scheme. The valuation comes up to approximately $2.9 billion.
The private insurers will continue to issue new ElderShield policies and serve existing ones until 2021.
More information will be made available to policyholders closer to the date of the transfer, MOH added.