Old age is often accompanied by health problems, such as dementia, identified by the FAST stages of dementia. This poses many problems, especially for the family members of the elderly, who are often in charge of taking care of them. In response to this, the Ministry of Health launched several insurance initiatives to lessen the financial burden on the elderly and their family members, especially when faced with a severe disability that requires long-term care and expenses. Such initiatives include ElderShield.
Here in Retire Genie, we will delve into the eligibility criteria, benefits, and premiums of ElderShield, shedding light on its importance for Singaporeans.
What is ElderShield?
ElderShield is a severe disability insurance scheme in Singapore first introduced in 2002, which provides basic financial protection through monthly cash payout that can help pay for out-of-pocket expenses during a severe disability. Since its review in 2007, ElderShield policyholders have enjoyed better benefits, where they receive monthly payouts of $400/month for up to 6 years upon severe disability, compared to the initial $300/month for up to 5 years upon severe disability when it was first introduced.
Exploring the Benefits of ElderShield
The primary benefit of ElderShield is the provision of monthly cash payouts to policyholders who have been assessed to have severe disabilities. These payouts are aimed at assisting individuals in meeting their daily living expenses and caregiving costs, which can become substantial in the case of severe disability. The severity of the disability is determined through a rigorous training programme and assessment conducted by MOH-accredited severe disability assessors.
The assessment includes an evaluation of various activities, such as the ability to feed oneself, dress, bathe, use the toilet, move indoors, and transfer between bed and chair. If the individual is unable to perform at least three out of six Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) without assistance, they are considered to have severe disabilities and are eligible for ElderShield payouts.
Eligibility Criteria for ElderShield
All citizens and permanent residents of Singapore with Medisave accounts are eligible for automatic enrollment in ElderShield. This proactive approach ensures that individuals have some form of financial support in place, especially during old age when the risk of developing severe disabilities increases. This also reflects the government’s commitment to providing a safety net for a diverse population.
As for existing ElderShield policyholders, they are covered under the previous ElderShield 300 or ElderShield 400 plans. These individuals can continue paying premiums for their existing benefits or choose to join CareShield Life, the enhanced version of ElderShield, by paying CareShield Life benefits and premiums. CareShield Life offers higher monthly cash payouts and lifetime coverage, providing additional benefits for those who wish to supplement their savings and secure comprehensive financial protection.
Filing ElderShield Claims
To receive ElderShield payouts, a person insured must develop a severe disability, rendering them unable to perform at least three out of six ADLs. Once the assessment confirms the severe disability, the policyholder can file an ElderShield claim to start receiving the monthly payouts. These payouts are disbursed to the individual throughout the period they remain severely disabled, providing much-needed financial assistance to cope with the challenges of daily living.
The claims process is streamlined and facilitated through the Central Provident Fund Board (CPF Board) for ease of access. Policyholders can submit their claims through CPF Online Services or visit the CPF Board’s website for more information on the process. The timely and efficient processing of claims ensures that policyholders receive the financial support they need during challenging times.
Understanding ElderShield Premiums
ElderShield premiums are paid through Medisave accounts and are automatically deducted for eligible Singapore citizens and permanent residents. The premiums are affordable and vary depending on the plan chosen—ElderShield 300 or ElderShield 400. Policyholders have the option to select the plan that best suits their financial situation and coverage needs.
It is essential to note that the premiums paid into ElderShield are not refundable, even if the policyholder does not eventually develop severe disabilities. Instead, these funds are pooled together to provide coverage and financial support to those who require it.
Comparing ElderShield 300 and ElderShield 400 Payouts
ElderShield 300 and ElderShield 400 represent the two plans available under the ElderShield scheme. ElderShield 300 offers a lower monthly payout compared to ElderShield 400. Policyholders who choose ElderShield 300 receive a reduced amount of financial support compared to those on ElderShield 400. However, the premium for ElderShield 300 is correspondingly lower, providing an option for individuals with different financial considerations.
ElderShield 400, on the other hand, offers higher monthly payouts, providing more substantial financial support in case of severe disabilities. Policyholders on ElderShield 400 receive more significant assistance to cover daily living expenses and caregiving costs, giving them greater peace of mind during challenging times.
Answering Common ElderShield FAQs
1) Difference between ElderShield and CareShield: Providing Long-term Care and Financial Security
ElderShield and CareShield Life serve similar purposes in providing financial protection for severe disabilities, but they differ in terms of coverage and benefits. CareShield Life is the enhanced version of ElderShield, offering higher monthly cash payouts and lifetime coverage. While all Singaporeans are automatically covered under ElderShield, CareShield Life is targeted at individuals born in 1980 or later. Those who wish to supplement their savings can join CareShield Life by paying the required premiums.
2) What is long-term care?
Long-term care refers to the ongoing support and assistance that individuals require when they are unable to perform daily activities independently due to severe disabilities or old age. This care may include help with daily tasks, medical attention, and support services to maintain a good quality of life.
3) What is a severe disability?
Severe disability refers to a condition in which an individual cannot perform at least three out of six ADLs without assistance. The inability to feed oneself, dress, bathe, use the toilet, move indoors, and transfer between bed and chair can lead to the need for long-term care and financial support.
ElderShield is crucial in providing basic financial protection for Singapore citizens and permanent residents from Singapore senior group homes to assisted living centres during their old age. By automatically enrolling eligible individuals in the scheme, the government ensures they have a safety net to rely on if they develop severe disabilities. The monthly cash payouts and coverage offered by ElderShield provide much-needed support to policyholders and their families, alleviating the financial burden that can arise from severe disabilities.
Additionally, CareShield Life’s availability allows individuals to enhance their coverage and receive higher payouts throughout their lifetime. ElderShield remains a vital component of the nation’s social safety net as Singaporeans continue to age, offering peace of mind to families and individuals alike. With ElderShield and CareShield Life in place, the Singaporean government reinforces its commitment to providing comprehensive and sustainable long-term care for its citizens, ensuring that no one is left behind during challenging times.