ELSON: Health Minister Gan Kim Yong made 2 points in parliament yesterday – one, that you shouldn’t be surprised by the “1 in 2 elderly Singaporeans will be severely disabled in their lifetime” statistic and two, that all revenue from that compulsory disability insurance CareShield Life will be used to benefit policyholders.
Let’s look at each and think about why Health Minister Gan has such a dim view of Singaporeans’ intellect.
First off, the projection that 50 percent of Singaporeans aged 65 and above will become severely disabled in their lifetime.
“Some are surprised by our ‘1-in-2’ statistic, and ask why is it that we do not see half of our elderly in severe disability,” Health Minister Gan said, explaining that this is simply because they do not all become severely disabled at the same time.
Let’s see what the Ministry of Social and Family Development reported in Feb 2017:
Elderly who are disabled: 13.3 percent.
That’s “disabled”, not “severely disabled”.
“Persons with sensory (blind and deaf) and physical disabilities would constitute half of the disability group. The remainder comprises those with Intellectual Disabilities and Autistic Spectrum Disorder.”
So, how many of our elderly will be able to fulfil the stringent criteria required to make a claim on their CareShield Life policy?
As we’ve seen from the experience of ElderShield, the predecessor to CareShield Life: 11 years in existence, S$3.3 billion collected, and S$133 million paid out.
The “1 in” 2 stat could hold water though – because most on their deathbed would be considered “severely disabled” by the government’s definition.
But at that time, how many of these elderly are going to go through the stringent vetting process of applying for CareShield Life payouts?
Okay and that brings us to Health Minister Gan’s second point – that all revenue collected from the CareShield Life scheme will be put in a fund that will benefit policyholders.
These are the benefits, according to Health Minister Gan:
“If the real-life claims experience turns out better than expected, the savings will form part of the fund, and policyholders will benefit from it through premium rebates, slower premium growth, or better payouts.”
Which means, Singaporeans still pay and pay, only that they might pay less.
But if the Health Minister has failed to justify his forecasts, and with that the cost of premiums in the first place.
So it’s to our benefit that we are forced to pay for a shot in the dark, and continue to pay for that throughout our lifetimes?
Singaporeans must be a really foolish lot of people if we accept that and willingly part with our CPF money (which accumulates interest, by the way).