SINGAPORE: Long-term care support schemes CareShield Life and MediSave Care will be launched by end-2020, instead of mid-2020 as originally planned, said Minister for Health Gan Kim Yong on Friday (Jun 5).
This is because the agencies and vendors have had to reduce the "pace of development and testing work" involved in implementing these schemes due to COVID-19 safe distancing precautions and "circuit breaker" measures, said Mr Gan in a written response to a parliamentary question by Member of Parliament Dr Chia Shi-Lu.
“This has caused a delay in the completion of IT systems needed to implement both CareShield Life and MediSave Care,” Mr Gan added.
The CareShield Life and Long-term Care Bill was passed in September 2019, allowing for Singaporeans born in 1980 or later to be enrolled in compulsory long-term disability insurance.
The scheme is optional for Singaporeans born in 1979 or earlier.
At S$600 per month, starting payouts for Singaporeans with severe disability will be significantly higher than under the existing ElderShield Scheme, and will increase over time, the Ministry of Health (MOH) had said at the time.
While ElderShield pays out S$300 or S$400 per month for up to six years, CareShield Life's higher payout lasts potentially for life and as long as the person remains severely disabled.
"This provides universal coverage for future generations of Singaporeans, ensuring CareShield Life coverage for them regardless of their health, pre-existing disability or financial status," Mr Gan had said in Parliament.
CareShield Life will be launched first for future cohorts, or Singaporeans born in 1980 or later, said Mr Gan. Singaporeans in these cohorts who are aged 30 to 40 in 2020 will be covered from end-2020, while those aged 29 and below will be covered when they turn 30.
The launch of CareShield Life for existing cohorts, or Singaporeans born 1979 or earlier, was originally planned for mid-2021, but will now “minimally be deferred” until end-2021, he said, adding that the Ministry of Health (MOH) will review the situation and announce more details when ready.
Disabled Singaporeans and their caregivers who need assistance can continue to receive help from existing disability assistance schemes such as the Home Caregiving Grant, Interim Disability Assistance Programme for the Elderly and ElderFund, Mr Gan said.
“If they require additional support for living costs, they can also tap on other schemes such as ComCare, the Temporary Relief Fund and the COVID-19 Support Grant.”