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CareShield Life: Your Guide to Singapore's Long-Term Care Financial Assistance

Long-term care and healthcare are among the top things you often think about as you age. This is especially true for those with a severe disability who become severely disabled and can barely make ends meet in their daily living.

Singapore citizens have the advantage of having a program that takes care of both healthcare and long-term care. Aside from the other options for financial assistance schemes for the elderly in Singapore, they can also apply for CareShield Life to be eligible for CareShield premiums.

Let's go over the basic financial and additional premium support, monthly payouts, and lifetime cash payouts covered under CareShield Life. We'll take you through the premium subsidies, basic financial support, and protection, CareShield life payout, when to start paying premiums, annual premiums, and more.

We'll cover all you need to know in this comprehensive CPF guide. This way, you can start choosing the right CareShield Life scheme to assist in your daily living, cover medical fees, and ensure a more comfortable and stress-free life even as you grow older.

Defining CareShield Life

CareShield Life and long-term care insurance is a national program launched by the Singapore government through the Central Provident Fund Act. CareShield Life premiums and the CareShield Life coverage were developed in 2020 as a replacement for the ElderShield program.

CareShield's goal is to offer people financial assistance in the case of severe disability, pre-existing medical conditions, those who remain severely disabled and would require sufficient funds for future healthcare needs or long-term care, and additional benefits for Singapore citizens who are unable to perform their activities of daily living.

CareShield Life premiums ensure Singapore citizens and permanent residents are receiving premium subsidies, monthly payouts, and basic financial protection on a regular basis. The monthly cash payouts or monthly benefits can be used to pay for the costs of long-term care at home or in Singapore nursing homes and for things like any received medical advice, medical expenditures, caregiving services, and everyday requirements.

A collaboration with the Singapore Deposit Insurance Corporation was made to achieve a comprehensive solution for the integration of life and long-term care insurance.

Updates About CareShield Life

Singapore citizens or permanent residents (PRs) born in 1979 or earlier can sign up for CareShield Life. They can apply for this insurance policy intended to offer crucial financial protection in the event a health declaration was created indicating a serious handicap or severe disability, starting on November 6th, 2021.

Singapore citizens or PRs who have an ElderShield 400 coverage and were born between 1970 and 1979 will be automatically registered in CareShield Life long-term program without having to take any further action. This is according to a statement from the Ministry of Health. You can also click this guide to find out more.

For all other individuals, you can sign up and join CareShield Life through its official website. You can choose to join CareShield Life if you are a citizen or PR born in 1979 or earlier and not considered severely disabled. On the other hand, CareShield Life, an enhanced version of ElderShield, offers CareShield life coverage and extended financial payouts and is compulsory for Singaporeans born in 1980 or later.

How Do I Benefit from CareShield Life?

CareShield Life offers health insurance products with several key benefits to individuals:

  • Comprehensive Coverage

CareShield Life offers premium subsidies, higher monthly payouts, and lifetime coverage for a variety of long-term care requirements, including disabilities brought on by illnesses like Parkinson's disease, dementia, and stroke. The program strives to offer aid to people with severe disability, ensuring they get help when needed.

  • Payouts for Life

CareShield Life offers lifetime payouts, in contrast to the previous ElderShield program, ensuring a life assured of financial support for as long as the policyholder needs long-term care. As a result, people may rest easy knowing that their financial requirements will be met for the rest of their lives.

  • Higher Payouts

CareShield Life offers higher payouts than the previous scheme. It offers monthly payouts beginning at $600 and rising over time, depending on the applicant's financial circumstances. The improved benefits are designed to keep up with escalating healthcare expenses and give policyholders more assistance.

  • Premium Support

The government offers premium assistance to lower-income people to make the program more accessible and inclusive. Premium subsidies and financial aid programs are available to ensure that the premiums paid stay affordable, allowing wider access to the benefits of CareShield Life.

Why Do You Need CareShield Life?

The launch of CareShield Life responds to Singapore's expanding need for long-term care support, fueled by these two factors:

  • Sustainability in Policy

Sustainability is essential to guaranteeing a policy's widespread benefits. Both beneficiaries and policyholders can have faith in the long-term stability of the policy by starting to collect premiums from policyholders at a younger age, like 30.

  • Evolving Demands

Singapore must allocate more resources to address the growing demand for long-term care of its citizens and PRs. The country faces an increasing need for healthcare as its population gradually ages and life expectancy rises. The goal of CareShield Life is to protect the insured person as he/she ages and provide them peace of mind that, in the event of severe disability, they will receive adequate long-term care. The agency will perform a disability assessment to make sure the benefits would go to those in need.

A Look Into the Payouts Under CareShield Life

People who experience severe disability will receive at least $600 per month under the CareShield Life policy owners' protection scheme. And this will go on as long as they continue to be severely disabled or suffer from moderate disability.

The monthly benefit starts at $600 and is anticipated to increase by 2% annually from 2020 through 2025. Beyond 2025, an independent CareShield Life Council will make adjustments to the payouts.

The monthly payout amount is fixed in the year a successful claim is made and will remain the same, in line with future increases in the scheme's payouts. The payout amount will also remain constant at the age of 67, the year of the final premium payment.

Shedding Light About ADLs

ADLs are a set of necessary actions that people normally carry out on their own in their daily lives. The concept of ADLs plays a significant role in determining eligibility and the level of assistance provided by CareShield Life. The six ADLs that CareShield Life has identified are:

  • Eating: The capacity to feed oneself food, including the ability to chew, swallow, and, if necessary, utilize utensils.

  • Bathing: The capacity to independently wash oneself and take a bath in order to maintain personal hygiene.

  • Dressing: The capacity to select appropriate clothing and perform the actions of putting it on and taking it off oneself.

  • Toileting: The skill of independently using the restroom, which includes getting on and off the toilet, bowel and bladder function control, and maintaining personal cleanliness.

  • Mobility: The capacity to move about on one's own, including getting in and out of a chair or bed, walking, or utilizing wheelchairs or crutches as mobility aids.

  • Transferring: The capacity to change positions on one's own, as in getting in and out of a chair or bed.

The evaluation of ADLs assists in determining the degree of disability and the amount of financial assistance and additional premium support that CareShield Life participants are entitled to.

Defining Long-Term Care and What's Covered Under CareShield Life

Long-term care includes a variety of services designed to meet the ongoing needs for personal care and medical attention of a severely disabled beneficiary. When a person is unable to perform their everyday tasks, these services are meant to help them stay as safe and independent as possible.

Long-term care services can include:

  • Medical care

This entails the procedures, prescription drugs, therapies, and other supplies needed to control the patient's condition.

  • Personal Care

Help with ADLs such as feeding, washing, dressing, and grooming.

  • Caregiving Support

Assistance is given by family members, paid caregivers, or medical experts to guarantee the person's safety, well-being, and quality of life.

  • Home Modifications

Changes were made to the living space to improve safety and accessibility, such as the addition of grab bars, ramps, or railings.

  • Community-Based Services

Services accessible outside of the person's home, such as those provided by adult daycare facilities, rehabilitation institutions, or community care facilities.

Long-term care can be given in a variety of places, such as the patient's home, a nursing home, a senior group home, an assisted living facility, or a community-based care facility.

CareShield Life vs ElderShield

ElderShield was the predecessor to CareShield Life. Some important differences between the two plans are as follows:

  • Coverage

ElderShield provided coverage and monthly payout exclusively for those who were severely disabled. On the other hand, those who are moderately or severely disabled are eligible to receive CareShield Life payouts and premium subsidies.

  • Payouts

ElderShield offered fixed monthly payouts for a limited period, typically up to 6 years. Contrarily, CareShield Life offers lifetime payouts, ensuring that policyholders always have basic financial protection. Compared to ElderShield, the compensation amounts under CareShield Life are also bigger.

  • Premiums

Premiums for ElderShield were paid up until the policyholder turned 65, while those for CareShield Life are due until they file a claim at age 67, whichever comes first. Additionally, CareShield Life's premiums are bigger than ElderShield's, providing more benefits and lifetime coverage.

  • Automatic Enrollment

While CareShield Life has an automatic enrollment process, ElderShield explicitly required people to opt in and enroll in the program. Singaporeans and permanent residents who turn 30 or become Singapore permanent residents, whichever comes first, are automatically registered in CareShield Life. If they decide not to participate, they can do so within a certain time frame.

Who Are Eligible for CareShield Life?

To be eligible for CareShield Life, individuals must meet the following criteria:

  • Citizenship/Permanent Residency: Claimants must be Singapore citizens or permanent residents.

  • Age: Singaporeans and permanent residents born in or after 1980 are automatically enrolled in CareShield. Those born before 1980 may choose to enroll in the program during specific enrollment periods.

  • Premium Payment: Premiums for CareShield Life must be paid up until the time a claim is made or until the age of 67, whichever comes first. To continue to be eligible for the program, individuals must make sure that their premium payments are up to date.

It's crucial to remember that those with severe disabilities or those who are unable to do at least 1 out of 6 Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) are qualified to submit a claim under CareShield Life.

Ways to Apply for CareShield Life

Applying for CareShield Life, similar to buying health insurance products, is a straightforward process that involves the following steps:

Automatic Enrollment

A person meeting the age and residency requirements becomes automatically registered in CareShield Life. The government will send them a letter alerting them of their enrollment.

Opting Out During the Deferment Period

People have the choice to opt out of CareShield Life during the designated opt-out deferment period. They need to follow the instructions to opt-out if they decide not to engage in the program during a given period, which will be specified in the enrolment letter.

Voluntary Enrollment

Those who missed the automatic enrollment period or were born before 1980 can enroll in CareShield Life during the authorized enrollment periods. The government will inform about the enrollment times, and those interested can apply immediately through the designated channels.

CareShield Life Premiums Costs

As of 2020, the premiums for males are $206, while for females, they are $254. From 2020 through 2025, these premiums will increase by 2% annually. An independent CareShield Life Council will decide how to adjust premiums after 2025, wherein a disability assessment will also be performed. You can use the Premium Calculator to find out your projected CareShield Life premium before and after any government subsidies or incentives.

The premiums are spread out over ten years for anyone who joins CareShield Life at age 59 or older. After turning 67, any outstanding premium payments are fixed.

For individuals with an existing severe disability at the age of 30 upon joining CareShield Life, only the first premium is required to be paid.

For individuals born in 1979 or earlier who are currently covered under ElderShield, joining CareShield Life at the end of 2021 may involve two components:

Base Premium

People who choose to join CareShield Life will pay a base premium from the time of enrollment until the age of 67 or for a full premium payment term or 10-year period if enrolling at age 59 or older in late 2021. This is similar to how most people pay their monthly bills. Only the base premium must be paid each year upon joining CareShield Life if you regularly maintain an ElderShield 400 policy without choosing to leave or upgrade from ElderShield 300.

Catch-up Component

In addition to the base premium, this is a flat sum paid over a ten-year period. Existing ElderShield 300 policyholders, individuals not covered under ElderShield, and those who opted into ElderShield at a later stage will pay an additional catch-up component on top of their base premium to account for having paid a lower total premium compared to their peers in the same cohort.

Foreigners who acquire Singaporean citizenship or permanent residency beginning on October 1st, 2020, will also have to pay the catch-up component in order to be eligible for CareShield Life coverage.

How Do You Pay for CareShield Life Premiums

It's easy to make premium payments for CareShield Life. Here are the common methods available:

  • MediSave

You can use money from your MediSave account to pay CareShield Life premiums. The current MediSave withdrawal regulations determine the maximum withdrawal amount. The premium payments will be easily accessible and handy since they will be automatically taken from your MediSave account.

  • Cash/Credit Card

You can choose to pay your CareShield Life premiums with cash or a credit card if your MediSave balance is inadequate to cover them or if you prefer to pay cash. You can use this option to pay cash rather than using MediSave funds.

Keep track of the due dates and make sure your premiums are paid on time to ensure timely premium payments. Failure to pay premiums may result in lapses in coverage.

Process of Making a CareShield Life Successful Claim

When caring for a loved one with a severe disability, caregivers or family members can make a CareShield Life successful claim on their behalf by following these steps:

  1. Arrange for a severe disability assessment. To undertake a disability assessment, get in touch with an accredited severe disability assessor who has been approved by the Ministry of Health (MOH). Please be aware that there can be a charge for the assessment. You can also do this after you have sought medical advice.

  2. Login to AIC's eService portal (eFASS). Use your SingPass login information to access the eFASS portal.

  3. Apply to receive scheme(s) payout. Locate the "Apply to Receive Scheme(s) Payout" section on the portal's overview page, and then select the relevant option depending on whether you are applying for yourself or as a caregiver.

  4. Nominate the recipient's bank account. It is advised to designate the care recipient's bank account as the payout recipient. If the care recipient is a resident of a nursing home, you can also use the payout to directly designate the nursing facility as the beneficiary in order to reduce nursing home expenses. For this process, you can ask the nursing home for help.

  5. If the care recipient lacks mental capacity, refer to the provided additional guidance to navigate the application process.

  6. Consult the AIC guide. You can consult the Agency for Integrated Care's (AIC) application guide if you require more specific instructions on how to apply.

It could take a month to approve an application. In the event that your application is approved, you can anticipate getting your first payment the following month.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there any scheduled reassessment?

The CareShield Life plan does include reassessments from time to time. The rewards and basic financial support are routinely reevaluated to ensure they align with the individual's care requirements. These re-evaluations aid in figuring out whether the person's level of disability (moderate or severely disabled) has changed.

What if I recover but, after a period, become severely disabled again?

You may submit a new claim with CareShield Life if you overcome your disability and then develop it again. The new claim will be evaluated in light of the eligibility requirements and existing level of disability. Speaking with the appropriate authorities and offering current medical records to back up your claim is crucial.

Is it compulsory to get the plan?

Yes, Singaporeans and permanent residents born in or after 1980 are required to enroll in the CareShield Life program. When they turn 30 or become Singapore Permanent Residents, whichever comes first, they automatically enroll in the program. However, if an individual decides not to participate, they may opt-out during the designated deferment period.

Can I cancel my CareShield plan?

You cannot cancel your coverage once you have signed up for CareShield Life. The insurance is made to help you pay for long-term care during your lifetime.

Do I have other choices for financial assistance for the elderly?

Yes, there are other financial aid programs for the elderly in Singapore, in addition to CareShield Life. These programs include MediSave, ElderFund, as well as numerous government grants and subsidies. These programs are designed to help people with their long-term care needs.

How can I use the monthly payouts intended for the care requirements of my family members or loved ones?

The CareShield Life payments can be used to meet your loved one's numerous care demands. Home care services, nursing care, assisted living, medical costs, and rehabilitation services all fall under this category. You can make sure your loved one gets the assistance and care they need to improve their quality of life by using the payouts strategically.

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