MOH says 50% of Singaporeans could be disabled at 65 to justify CareShield Life

As part of its justification to launch a new mandatory disability insurance scheme, CareShield Life, Ministry of Health (MOH) said that “1 in 2 healthy Singaporeans aged 65 could become severely disabled in their lifetime, and may need long-term care”.

“We need to plan for our future long-term care needs, but working out how much to save can be difficult given the uncertainty of long-term care costs. The median duration for which severely disabled Singapore residents could remain in disability is four years, but around 3 in 10 could remain in severe disability for 10 years or more,” it added.

It said that Singaporeans are living longer and as such, comes with the “increased risk of becoming severely disabled”.

ElderShield garners $3.3 billion from Singaporeans but paid only $133 million so far

Previously, the government launched the optional ElderShield disability insurance scheme in 2002, which provides cash payouts of $300 or $400 per month for up to 6 years if one is disabled. People have a choice to opt out.

But now with the new CareShield Life, Singaporeans cannot opt out. This new scheme however has a higher monthly cash payouts of $600 or more upon being disabled but Singaporeans will have to pay higher premiums, and mandated to start paying when one turns 30. CareShield Life would eventually replace ElderShield.

Despite being an optional scheme, surprisingly, ElderShield has garnered some $3.3 billion from Singaporeans since its inception. But only $133 million or 4% was paid out. The remainder $3.2 billion together with its interests are sitting somewhere in some accounts. MOH did not say what they are doing with this large sum of monies which they have collected from the people.

MOH implies that Singaporeans are more prone to be disabled than Americans and Canadians

According to the Disability Statistics Annual Report 2016, in the US in 2015, less than 1.0% of the under 5 years old population had a disability. For those ages 5-17, the rate was 5.4%. For ages 18-64, the rate was 10.5%. For people ages 65 and older, 35.4% had a disability.

In Canada, it was 10.1% for aged 15 to 64 and 33.2% for those 65 and above (2012 figures).

But for Singaporeans aged 65 and above, MOH is saying it will be 50%. That is to say, Singaporeans are more prone to be disabled than Canadians (33%) and Americans (35%) at 65.

As there is no source indicated by MOH in its statement, TOC has written to ask MOH to share the data source this afternoon and MOH has not replied to TOC’s query till now.

Why did MOH think Singaporeans are more prone to be disabled? Too much hawker food? MRT trains too dangerous to travel in?

What do you think?

Edit: Title changed from “will” to “could” to better reflect what MOH said.

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