So you're probably aware that we have a national health insurance scheme called "MediShield Life".  And you may also have heard of another national insurance scheme called called “CareShield Life” - especially if you’re over 30 years old. CareShield Life is the upgraded version of ElderShield.

But how much do you really know about these two government-based schemes? And do you know how they can help you?

Here are the fundamental facts about the two.

MediShield Life CareShield Life
What is it?

A basic hospitalisation insurance plan which helps pay for large hospital bills and selected costly outpatient treatments.

A severe disability insurance plan which provides basic financial support for long-term care.

How do I sign up for this?

All Singaporeans and Permanent Residents are automatically enrolled at birth.

All Singaporeans and Permanent Residents are automatically enrolled at age 30.

How does it work?

Reimburses you for the cost of claimable medical bills, up to the claim limit of S$150,000/policy year, so you pay less using cash or MediSave.

It gives payouts starting at S$600/month (in 2020) for life, as long as you’re disabled (defined as the inability to do 3 out of 6 specific activities of daily living independently), to help with care and living costs.

How do I pay premiums?

Fully payable by MediSave.

Fully payable by MediSave.

How long do I pay premiums for?

Premiums are payable for life.

From the age you join until age 67 (although you continue to be covered for life).

Can I increase my coverage?

Yes, for increased coverage, you can top up with an Integrated Shield Plan (IP) purchased from approved insurers such as Singlife. 

Integrated Shield Plans provide additional coverage and increased claim limits, so you have the option to receive treatment at higher class wards or private hospitals, and still be covered for the higher cost. IPs also cover pre- and post-hospitalisation treatment, which the basic MediShield Life doesn't. There are also other benefits that insurers offer – for example, Singlife Shield offers discounted premium rates for your children* till they're 20 years old, if both parents are covered under Singlife Shield Plan 1 or 2.

Yes, for increased coverage, you can top up with CareShield Life supplements purchased from approved insurers such as Singlife.

CareShield Life supplements allow you to increase the monthly payout amount. They also typically come with additional benefits - for example, Singlife CareShield Standard offers a Rehabilitation Benefit so you continue receiving payouts even if you've recovered slightly and have fallen out of the claim criteria.

So now you know how MediShield Life and CareShield Life work.

Here's a simple illustration to demonstrate how the two plans complement each other:

John suffers a stroke.

 He's admitted to the hospital, requires surgery, as well as post-surgery check-ups. MediShield Life and his Integrated Shield Plan help to cover his hospitalisation and surgical fees so that he can afford the treatment.

After being discharged from the hospital, John continues to experience weakness and has difficulty fulfilling his activities of daily living. He's unable to get back to work and has to hire a live-in domestic helper to take care of him. He also needs to modify his home with ramps and non-slip floors to help with his mobility. His CareShield Life and CareShield Life Supplement payouts help to cover his long-term care and living expenses.

Once you understand the functions of MediShield Life and CareShield Life, and how they both provide different but equally essential financial support when your health suffers, it's good to assess if you're adequately covered. Ideally, you should have enough medical and severe disability coverage to support the level of care you want in the event you're hospitalised or need long-term care.

*Terms and conditions apply

Find out more about our medical insurance plans today

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The content of the blog – LifeStuff is published for general information only and does not have regard to the specific investment objectives, financial situation, and particular needs of any specific person. The objective of this blog is merely for educational purposes and is not intended to serve as legal, tax, investment or accounting advice and nothing contained here shall constitute a distribution, an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy. Accordingly, no warranty whatsoever is given, and no liability whatsoever will be accepted by Singapore Life Ltd for any loss arising whether directly or indirectly as a result from you acting based on this information.


You may wish to seek advice from a financial adviser representative before making a commitment to purchase the products. If you choose not to seek advice from a financial adviser representative, you should consider whether the product in question is suitable for you. The polices are protected under the Policy Owners’ Protection Scheme, and administered by the Singapore Deposit Insurance Corporation (SDIC). For more information on the types of benefits that are covered under the scheme as well as the limits of coverage, where applicable, please contact us or visit the LIA or SDIC websites ( or