SINGAPORE: The Government will take over the administration of ElderShield from private insurers in 2021, a move that will allow policyholders a smoother upgrade to CareShield Life, a new national disability insurance scheme scheduled to be introduced next year.
The announcement was made on Monday (Jan 7) by the Ministry of Health (MOH), who said that the government will administer the ElderShield scheme on a not-for-profit basis.
"In the event that the actual claims experience turns out better than expected, there will continue to be premium rebates for ElderShield policyholders," MOH said.
There are currently 1.3 million ElderShield policyholders under three private insurers – Aviva, NTUC Income and Great Eastern Life Insurance.
CareShield, described as an enhanced version of the ElderShield scheme, is set to be implemented in 2020. It is compulsory for Singapore residents born in 1980 or later.
Cohorts born in 1979 or earlier can choose to join CareShield Life in 2021 if they are not severely disabled.
The transfer of administration will help ElderShield policyholders who choose to upgrade to CareShield Life to benefit from a smoother upgrading process, MOH said.
Those who opt not to upgrade to CareShield Life will remain covered by their existing policies.
“They will benefit from improvements to the claims assessment process that will be implemented for CareShield Life, such as an enhanced assessment framework that takes into account cognitive impairments,” the release said.
ElderShield Supplements holders will not be affected by the transfer of administration, and will continue to be served by their existing insurers.
“ElderShield insurers will transfer to the Government the liabilities and corresponding assets backing these liabilities for all policies under the ElderShield scheme,” said the release. “The valuation comes up to approximately S$2.9 billion.
“Actuarial consultants and audit and legal firms, appointed by the Government, have verified that the valuation and transfer terms are fair and in accordance to standard industry practice.”
ElderShield Review Committee chairman Chaly Mah said that the committee welcomes the move. “We had earlier noted in our report that there is value for all ElderShield and CareShield Life policyholders to be serviced by the same administrator to ensure consistency in policy administration,” he said.
“Looking ahead, I encourage the private insurers to work with the Government to ensure a smooth transfer.”
Existing ElderShield policyholders are not required to take any action at this point, MOH said in the release.
“From now until the transfer is completed in 2021, existing ElderShield insurers will continue to issue new ElderShield policies and serve ElderShield policies.
“MOH will work with the insurers to ensure a smooth transition, and more information will be provided to each ElderShield policyholder closer to the date of transfer.”