Understanding severe disability coverage and why it pays to plan ahead

Since the launch of CareShield Life, severe disability coverage has been a hot topic among Singaporeans. With the right care and proper financial planning, it's possible to overcome the challenges of living with a severe disability.


Living with uncertainty is never easy but living with severe disability can be even more challenging.

Severe disability refers to the inability to perform at least three of the six activities of daily living (ADL), which are dressing, washing, toileting, walking or moving around, transferring, and feeding. Severe disability can happen to anyone at any age. It can result from a sudden event such as an accident, a heart attack, or a stroke. It could also be due to progressive worsening or complications of chronic illnesses such as diabetes, or cancer. The need for long-term care arises when one suffers from a serious and ongoing health condition as such.

What’s long-term care and how much would it cost?

Long-term care refers to providing care for someone who needs both medical care and personal care due to a severe disability. It’s often hard to predict what type of long-term care a person might need and for how long.

Most people underestimate the cost of long-term care. Among other things, you may need to hire a caregiver, pay for home modifications, medication, dietary supplements, rehabilitation, aids to help in daily living such as a wheelchair, and more. According to a Long-term Care Study1 done in 2018, you may need an average of S$2,324 per month for long-term care.

How do you plan for long-term care? And how does CareShield Life fit in?

Having long-term care insurance will reduce the risk of depleting your savings and make it easy for you to access the type of care you need.

To help you prepare better for your future long-term care needs, the government launched CareShield Life—a national severe disability insurance scheme—on 1 October 2020. All Singapore citizens and permanent residents born in or after 1980—regardless of pre-existing medical conditions and disability—were automatically enrolled into CareShield Life on 1 October 2020, or will be enrolled upon turning 30 years of age, whichever is later.

Similar to the previous ElderShield scheme, CareShield Life offers a monthly payout upon an individual's severe disability diagnosis to help finance the cost of long-term care. CareShield Life, however, offers payouts that are higher and continue over a lifetime as long as the claimant remains severely disabled.

Taking inflation into account, CareShield Life payouts start at S$600 per month in 2020 and will increase until you turn age 67, or until you make a claim, whichever is earlier. Consequently, the premium amount, which is fully payable using MediSave funds, will also increase over time.

An option to enhance your CareShield Life coverage

Given that the average cost of long-term care is S$2,324 per month, enhancing your CareShield Life coverage will allow you to access the best care you need. With a supplementary plan for your CareShield Life coverage, you can receive payouts of up to S$5,000 per month plus additional benefits that will help you cover some out-of-pocket expenses.

Using Singlife’s supplement for CareShield Life—Singlife Careshield Standard, here’s an example of how much level payout you may receive on a monthly basis and how much you can expect to be deducted from your MediSave account for your CareShield Life supplement annual premium if you wish to use MediSave for the full premium:

  Female Male
Age 31 31
Product Singlife CareShield Standard Singlife CareShield Standard
Premium term Till age 99 Till age 99
Benefit amount S$1,500 per month S$1,900 per month
Annual premium  S$723.86 S$748.14

Did you know?

If you utilise your own or your family member's annual Additional Withdrawal Limit of S$600 from MediSave, you do not need to fork out any cash for the above premiums!

Don’t wait till it’s too late

It’s important to act while you’re young and in good health as the premiums for CareShield Life supplements would vary based on your entry age and pre-existing conditions, which may limit your coverage. Therefore, the longer you wait, the more expensive your options become, and the higher your risk of becoming uninsurable.

It’s a common misconception that long-term care is for the elderly. While the risk for severe disability is higher in old age, it can be unpredictable and could happen to anyone at any age. There is always a risk that an unforeseen accident or a chronic health condition could bring about financial stress in a family. Planning ahead will give you and your family peace of mind, as well as the ability to focus on what matters most. 



1 Singlife with Aviva’s Long-term Care Study 2018

As of 1 January 2022, Aviva Singapore is now Singlife with Aviva.

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