Support Site for The Unemployed & Underemployed
Tuesday July 24th 2018

Careshield, Eldershield, CPF, HDB, S & C – PAP’s wealth accumulation ways?

As the country struggles to come to terms with the rationale on the compulsory purchase for all Singaporeans and PRs born 1980 and later to purchase Careshield for old age disability, many are however unconvinced about the government’s sincerity given the lame results in other nation-wide healthcare insurance schemes such as Eldershield and Medishield.

There is also a difference in gender-based premiums calculated as females will pay slightly more than males resulting in a online petition protest which garner close to 2000 signatures. As women are deemed traditionally to live longer than males even while facing disability, the disability insurance premiums reflected that difference in acturial terms angering many women in the process.

Careshield Life will be made optional for those born in 1979 or earlier and for the record, 36% of Singaporeans aged 40 and above or 717,000 opted out of Eldershield reinforcing the belief that the CPF insurance scheme is not something that the population wanted for its old age disability. Payout for Careshield will however be increased to $600 a month compared to $300-$400 for Eldershield though premiums will also be adjusted moderately upwards as well. However, the extra payout for the new disability insurance may not be attractive enough to entice Eldershield critics to change their mind for Careshield.

Eldershield vz Careshield

Under Careshield, disability payout will be for as long as the insured is  certified disabled compared to a cap period of 5 to 6 years under Eldershield which is probably why the government decided to implement the changes to the disability insurance scheme as we have one of the fastest-aging population worldwide. In fact, by 2030, we will have a 40% population consisting of seniors age 65 years and above and disability is a accompanying ailment for many seniors.

Since its launch in 2002, $133 million were paid out in Eldershield claims for about 12, 500 successful claims against $3.3 billion in premiums collected as of last year making it the fattest cash cow for the three private insurers here. There were also no figures mentioned about unsuccessful claims and whether the Eldershield claim policies are deemed too difficult for someone who is disabled to qualify for the insurance payout.

To qualify for a claim, the disabled must be able to convince the insurer that he could not perform three out of six actvities of daily living (ADL) – eating, bathing, dressing, transferring from chair to bed, going to the tiolet and walking or moving around. People who can make a successful claim from Eldershield probably are those that suffer from a mild to serious stroke or those who are involved in a serious car accident. Diabetic patients who have undergone amputations to their limbs are probably those who can derive some benefit from the disability insurance scheme.

Despite it’s distinct advantage of dishing out higher pay-out to the insured for as long as the person is disabled  compared to a fixed $300-$400 a month under the soon-defunct Eldershield pay-out for five to six years only, nobody is biting as this time round the government will administer the scheme itself compared to Eldershield which is administered by three private insurers. This new move for the government to play state insurer also angers many who have always complained that the PAP will always try to take over a lucrative business pie when the profits are massive. We witnessed that happening in the childcare, healthcare, education, F & B and even funeral services. Many small and medium enterprises are squeezed out of business in the process.

Another cashcow for the government?

The premiums collected for Careshield will be massive if it is made compulsory for those born on 1980 and beyond as that represent almost 2 million automatic clientele and someone calculated that as much as $11 billion premiums can be accumulated over time. But given the history of distrust Singaporeans have for the government especially when it comes to nation-wide collection because of the huge CPF debacle due to its difficulty in sctual withdrawal, the optional withdrawal figures may exceed the 36% for Eldershield this time round.

Moreover, Eldershield has proved thus far that the disability healthcare nation-wide insurance scheme is a sure-win cashcow that will inject billions of much-needed funds into the coffers of our government which seems to be digging at every chance to top up its reserve even though Temasek and GIC have close to $800 billion sovereign reserve funds for investment.

Car park charging at army camps and schools for civil servants are some of the recent desperate ways that the government is trying to shore up its coffers belying the suspicion among many that there may be some funding trouble at the sovereign funds.

The key question to ask now is whether the government is genuine in trying to help the fast-aging population with affordable disability insurance paid through the CPF Medisave funds or it has smelled a sure-win cashcow scheme to shore up its already-fattened coffers and decided to take over from the three private insurers.

Self-funded disability insurance scheme also will transfer the ownership of responsibility from the state to self so that the government will spend less on healthcare for a fast-aging population and what about those who are destitute and do not have sufficient CPF funds to pay for such insurance schemes which will clearly benefit them more than the general population?

Written by: Gilbert Goh

Number of View: 43

Reader Feedback

One Response to “Careshield, Eldershield, CPF, HDB, S & C – PAP’s wealth accumulation ways?”

  1. xyz says:

    I’ve worked in a govt hospital, and the problem with Eldershield is that it is VERY difficult to claim using the 3 out of 6 ADLs criteria. From what we know, Careshield uses the same criteria.

    It is even more hard, as the criteria allows for modification e.g. using 1 hand to wipe yourself with a wet towel is considered as “able to bathe independently”, or using 1 hand to use a modified spork to scoop up food from a modified plate with high & curved-in sides.

    Wearing clothes & shoes modified with Velcro means “able to dress independently”. Being able to push yourself on a wheelchair means “able to ambulate independently”.

    And nowadays with electric wheelchair even worse, as you just need 1 hand to operate a small joystick.

    Hence even if a person has both legs and 1 arm amputated, as long as he is able to sit upright and use 1 arm, it is NOT possible to qualify for Careshield or Eldershield.

    Many patients get rejected …. And doctors often need to pacify families by refilling the application forms and modifying the assessments. Not all doctors are willing to put their career or reputation on the line to exaggerate the claims on the application forms, in order to increase the chances for successful Eldershield payout.

Leave a Reply