Singapore is home to an ageing population and even now, 1 in 4 people are over 55 years old. As such, a big chunk of the budget is being earmarked to help support Singaporeans entering their silver years.
This year, an extra S$3.1 billion was earmarked for premium subsidies and other forms of support for Singaporeans, bringing the total up from S$2 billion last year to S$5.1 billion in 2019. This total will be placed into a new Long-Term Care Support Fund which will help fund various initiatives.
#SGBudget2019: $5.1bn to be put into new Long-Term Care Support Fund which will fund CareShield Life subsidies as well as other long-term care support measures, such as ElderFund.
— MOFsg (@MOFsg) February 18, 2019
Mr Heng announced that CHAS subsidies will be enhanced. Firstly, CHAS coverage will be extended to all Singaporeans for chronic conditions regardless of income. Also, lower to middle income Singaporeans with CHAS Orange cards will see subsidies for chronic illnesses extend to include common illnesses as well while subsidies for complex chronic conditions will also be increased.
Mr Heng also outlined plans for strengthening financial protection for long-term care. He said the Ministry of Health will be introducing the new CareShield Life starting 2020 which is an enhancement of the current ElderShield scheme.
A new ElderFund will also be launched next year to provide assistance to severely disabled, lower-income Singaporeans in need of additional financial support for long-term care.
On top of that, the ComCare Long-Term Assistance rates will be raised – for example a two-person household will receive an additional S$130 a month, bringing the total cash assistance up to S$1,000 a month.
And Singaporeans over 50 years old who do not qualify for the new Merdeka Generation Package or the older Pioneer Generation Package, will receive a S$100 Medisave top-up per year for five years.