MOH announces replacement of ElderShield with New CareShield Life Scheme; Higher premiums but lifetime payouts

Ministry of Health (MOH) has announced on Sunday (27 May) that it has accepted the recommendations of the ElderShield Review Committee (ESRC) on changes to the scheme to better address the long-term care needs of our ageing population.

The ministry noted that the introduction of the enhanced scheme, CareShield Life, will be a major step in supporting the basic long-term care needs of Singapore residents with severe disability, adding that compared to ElderShield, CareShield Life will have higher and lifetime payouts.

The Government stated that it plans to implement CareShield Life in 2020 for future cohorts.

“Those aged 30 to 40 in 2020 will be the first cohorts to join the scheme.  Subsequent future cohorts will join the scheme when they reach the age of 30,” it said, adding that the Government will provide premium subsidies and financial support to ensure that the scheme is affordable and nobody will lose coverage because of an inability to pay.

The ministry then noted that existing cohorts can choose to join the scheme from 2021. The Government is also looking into measures to encourage and support existing cohorts of Singapore residents to join CareShield Life.

According to the ministry, the Committee’s recommendations will offer better protection and greater assurance for Singapore residents.

“They will provide future cohorts, regardless of financial ability and health, with universal coverage and protection. The CareShield Life payouts will complement Government subsidies, personal savings, and family support for long-term care,” it said.

“The recommendations are well thought through and strike a good balance between enhancements in the scheme benefits, and ensuring premium affordability and long-term scheme sustainability,” it added.

The ministry stated that lifetime coverage and higher payouts that increase over time will need to be supported by higher premiums.

“For the first five years of scheme implementation, payouts and premiums will both increase by 2% per year. Subsequent adjustments will be reviewed regularly by an independent CareShield Life Council,” it added.

The authority said that the Singapore residents will be able to use their MediSave to pay for the full amount of premiums under CareShield Life. For future cohorts of Singapore residents, the Government will also provide the following premium subsidies and support:

  • Permanent means-tested subsidies for lower- to middle-income Singapore residents: Up to two-thirds of Singapore resident households will be eligible for CareShield Life subsidies of up to 30%.

  • Transitional subsidies for the first five years from scheme launch: Singapore Citizens will receive up to $250 in subsidies spread over the first five years of the new scheme to help them pay for the premiums of the new scheme.

  • Additional premium support: For those in financial need who are unable to pay for their net premiums after premium subsidies, they can receive Additional Premium Support from the Government.

“With these measures, CareShield Life premiums will be affordable for all Singapore residents. No one enrolled in CareShield Life will lose coverage due to financial difficulties,” it said.