As Singapore’s population ages, it is inevitable that more people may be afflicted with severe disabilities, as the risk of disability rises with age.
An estimated three in 10 Singaporeans could remain in severe disability for 10 years or more, possibly resulting in higher long-term care costs due to prolonged disability, and thus increasing the financial burden on themselves and their caregivers.
Singapore has been preparing for this, having introduced basic long-term care insurance scheme ElderShield in 2002. The scheme offers protection against severe disability, especially during old age.
Until 2019, all Singapore citizens and permanent residents with MediSave accounts were automatically enrolled in ElderShield at the age of 40, unless they opted out of the scheme.
Those automatically enrolled are either under ElderShield 300 or ElderShield 400. All ElderShield customers should note that the Government will run ElderShield from 2021, taking over from private insurers such as Aviva, Income and Great Eastern.
One good thing about the change is that the Ministry of Health allows ElderShield policyholders to make the switch to CareShield Life – the compulsory national long-term care insurance providing disability coverage for all Singapore residents born in 1980 or later.
Supplementing national long-term care insurance schemes with Great CareShield
There are many benefits of switching over to CareShield Life. Current policyholders of ElderShield 300 and ElderShield 400 will be provided with $300 a month for up to five years, or $400 a month for up to six years, upon severe disability1, respectively.
The payouts may be insufficient to cover potential long-term care costs as rehabilitation can cost up to $425 per session2 and nursing home stays can cost up to $2,300 per month3.
These can add up to a hefty amount, and the monthly payouts may not fully provide for your long-term care needs.
To supplement this gap, private insurers such as Great Eastern encourage ElderShield policyholders to enhance their long-term disability coverage from as early as the onset of mild disability.
Depending on the customers’ needs and preferences, they can opt for GREAT CareShield Enhanced or GREAT CareShield Advantage, which make monthly payouts of up to $5,000 to support long-term care needs.
Pay your premiums partially or in full with MediSave
Based on the chosen supplementary plan, GREAT CareShield disability insurance plans offer options to ease such financial costs.
Policyholders aged 40 years and older who are on ElderShield will also appreciate that premiums for GREAT CareShield plans can be paid with their MediSave funds or the MediSave funds of their family members.
Up to $600 of MediSave funds4 can be used annually per insured person to pay for the premiums for ElderShield and CareShield Life supplementary plans.
Based solely on the $600 annual MediSave withdrawal limits, an ElderShield 400 customer can increase their monthly payouts by up to $1,100.
For example, James, 42, is currently covered under ElderShield 400 with a $400 monthly payout for up to six years in the event of a severe disability1. With the GREAT CareShield supplementary plan, he can enhance his coverage by $1,100, taking his new total monthly payout to $1,500 – an increase of more than three times. What’s more, his annual premium5 of $597 is fully payable with MediSave and does not require any top-up in cash.
Get covered while you’re young
Common causes of disability include accidents, stroke, diabetes and cancer, which can greatly affect people’s lives as they age.
Given that the prevalence of disabilities rises between age groups – jumping from 3.4 per cent for people aged 18 to 49, to 13.3 per cent for people aged 50 and older – it is timely for those under the ElderShield scheme to plan ahead with supplementary plans under GREAT CareShield.
There are also more perks to getting covered early – you can lock in lower premiums5 and have peace of mind that you are covered.
Ensure you have sufficient funds when disability happens. Sign up for GREAT CareShield and get 20 per cent off your first-year premiums.
Get a quote today!
1 Severe disability refers to the inability to perform at least three ADLs and where significant assistance is required from another person in performing the ADLs.
2 Singapore General Hospital, Rehabilitation Centre, https://www.sgh.com.sg/patient-care/specialties-services/Rehabilitation-Centre
3 MoneySmart, Nursing Homes in Singapore – How Much Does It Cost?, July 23, 2019,
4 Premiums can be paid by MediSave, subject to a limit of $600 per calendar year per insured person.
5 Premium rates are not guaranteed and they may be adjusted from time to time based on future experience.
All ages specified refer to age last birthday. Figures illustrated are rounded down to the nearest dollar. This advertisement has not been reviewed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore.
Terms and Conditions apply. Protected up to specified limits by SDIC.
This is only product information provided by Great Eastern. You may wish to seek advice from a qualified adviser before buying the product. If you choose not to seek advice from a qualified adviser, you should consider whether the product is suitable for you. Buying health insurance products that are not suitable for you may impact your ability to finance your future healthcare needs. If you decide that the policy is not suitable after purchasing the policy, you may terminate the policy in accordance with the free-look provision, if any, and the insurer may recover from you any expense incurred by the insurer in underwriting the policy.