What is CareShield Life?
Launched on 1 October 2020, CareShield Life is a long-term care insurance scheme that provides basic financial support for individuals who are severely disabled. Individuals are covered for life once all premium payments are completed by age 67. Individuals eligible for claims will receive a cash payout of at least $600 per month for as long as they remain severely disabled and meet the eligibility criteria.
What are the payouts under CareShield Life?
In the event of a severe disability, those who are covered under CareShield Life will receive monthly payouts of at least $600, for as long as they remain severely disabled.
Monthly payouts start at $600 per month and are projected to increase by 2% per year from 2020 to 2025. After 2025, payout adjustments will be determined by an independent CareShield Life Council.
However, once you make a successful claim, the payout amount you receive is fixed at the year of claim and will not increase even when the scheme’s payout increases in the future. Similarly, the payout amount will also be fixed at the year you pay your last premium at age 67.
Image Credits: Ministry of Health Singapore
How is ‘severe disability’ defined?
An individual is considered to be severely disabled if they are unable to perform at least 3 out of 6 of these activities of daily living even with the aid of special equipment, and will always require the physical assistance of another individual throughout the entire activity.
The 6 activities of daily living (ADLs) include:
- Washing: The ability to wash your face or body in the bath or shower independently as well as physically getting in and out of the shower.
- Dressing: The ability to choose which clothes to wear, putting them on, and managing your self appearance. This includes securing and unfastening any artificial limbs, braces, and other medical and surgical appliances, if needed.
- Feeding: The ability to feed oneself after the food has been prepared.
- Toileting: The ability to get to and from the toilet, use it properly, and clean yourself afterwards. This includes putting on protective undergarments such as diapers or surgically appliances unaccompanied, if required.
- Mobility: The ability to sit, stand, walk and move from one place to another on level surfaces by yourself.
- Transferring: While similar to functional mobility and sometimes used interchangeably, transferring focuses on all aspects of being able to move from a bed to an upright chair or wheelchair and vice versa.
Who does CareShield Life cover?
CareShield Life covers all Singapore Citizens or Permanent Residents born after 1980, regardless of pre-existing disabilities and medical conditions. If you fall under this category, you will be automatically covered under CareShield Life starting from 1 October 2020, or when you turn 30, whichever is later.
For Singapore Citizens or Permanent Residents born in 1979 or earlier, participation is optional. You may choose to remain on ElderShield, switch to CareShield Life, or opt out of both ElderShield and CareShield Life. For those who wish to join CareShield Life, you may do so starting from end-2021 if you are not severely disabled and will need to top up your premiums.
How much is my CareShield Life premiums?
CareShield Life premiums are paid from the age you join till age 67 (inclusive of the year you turn age 67), but will cover you for life. Premiums are waived once you make a successful claim.
In 2020, premiums are $206 for males and $254 for females, and will increase by 2% per year from 2020 to 2025. Beyond 2025, premium adjustments will be determined by an independent CareShield Life Council. You can estimate your CareShield Life premium before and after any Government subsidies or incentives using this Premium Calculator.
For individuals who join CareShield Life at age 59 or older:
If you join CareShield Life at age 59 or older, you will have to pay premiums over 10 years. Any premium that remains payable will become flat after you turn 67.
For individuals who have an existing severe disability at the joining age of 30:
If you have an existing disability prior to joining CareShield Life at age 30, you will only have to pay the first premium to qualify for lifetime payouts.
For individuals born in 1979 or earlier:
Individuals born in 1979 or earlier may currently be covered under ElderShield. Depending on your existing ElderShield plan, your premium may have 2 components if you wish to join CareShield Life at end-2021:
- Base Premium
Similar to most other individuals, those who wish to join CareShield Life will pay a base premium from the age you join until age 67 (inclusive of the year you turn age 67), or for a period of 10 years for those who join CareShield Life at age 59 or older in end-2021.
If you have been consistently on an ElderShield 400 policy (i.e. have never opted out or upgraded from ElderShield 300 to ElderShield 400), you will only have to pay the base premium each year if you opt to join CareShield Life.
- Catch-up ComponentThe catch-up component is a flat amount paid over a period of 10 years and is paid on top of the base premium.
Existing ElderShield 300 policyholders, those not insured under ElderShield and those who opted into ElderShield late will pay an additional flat catch-up component on top of their base premium, since they would have paid less total premium compared to their peers in the same cohort.
Foreigners who become Singaporean Citizens or Permanent Residents from 1st October 2020 onwards will also have to pay the catch-up component if they wish to be covered under CareShield Life.
How can I pay my CareShield Life premiums?
CareShield Life premiums can be fully paid using your or your family members’ MediSave. If you have insufficient funds in your MediSave account, you can also top up your MediSave account via CPF e-Cashier. There are also several subsidies and support measures available to ensure premiums remain affordable for everyone.
How do I make a CareShield Life claim?
In the event of a severe disability, caregivers can make a CareShield Life claim for their loved ones.
- Arrange for a disability assessment to be conducted by a MOH-accredited severe disability assessor. Do take note that there may be a fee for the assessment.*
- Login to AIC’s eService portal (eFASS) with your SingPass.
- On the overview page, look for the Apply to Receive Scheme(s) Payout section and select For myself or As a caregiver.
- It is recommended that you nominate the care recipient’s bank account to receive the payout. If the care recipient is residing in a nursing home, you may also offset nursing home bills by directly nominating the nursing home to receive the payout. Please approach the nursing home for assistance.
- If the care recipient lacks mental capacity, do go through the Additional Guidance.
- If you need more information on how to apply, refer to this guide by AIC.
- Application approvals may take up to 1 month. If your application is successful, you will receive your first payout in the following month.
* The assessment fee for the first disability assessment for CareShield Life claims is free, regardless of the assessment result. Subsequently, there will be a severe disability assessment fee of $100 for a clinic assessment and $250 for a house call. This assessment fee will be reimbursed with your first payout if your claim is successful.
It is recommended that caregivers apply online as there is a shorter waiting time for approval. If you are unable to submit online, you may also email [email protected] or walk in to any AIC Links to request for a hardcopy application form.
Is there a periodic re-assessment?
Annual periodic re-assessments may be required to determine if the individual still meets the eligibility criteria. The fees for these periodic review assessments are also waived, regardless of the outcome of the assessment.
What happens if I recover from my disability and subsequently become disabled again?
After you have recovered from your disability, you will have to continue paying the premiums to benefit from the coverage, unless you have exceeded the premium paying age of 67 years old.
If you subsequently become disabled again, you will have to go through the 4 steps above to be eligible for the claim again.
ElderShield vs CareShield Life: What’s the Difference?
While both ElderShield and CareShield Life aim to help Singaporeans and Permanent Residents cope with the cost of long-term care, there are several key differences between the two schemes.
Find out more about ElderShield in our handy guide here.
Can I opt out of CareShield Life?
CareShield Life is mandatory for individuals born after 1980 to ensure that all Singaporeans have basic protection for long-term care needs. For those born in 1979 or earlier, CareShield Life is not compulsory and is on an opt-in basis.
Other Financial Assistance Schemes for the Elderly
Besides CareShield, there are a slew of other financial assistance schemes, subsidies and grants available for the elderly, disabled and caregivers. Learn more about the different financial assistance schemes and caregiver grants for the elderly that you can tap on in Singapore in our all-in-one guide.