With the annoucement of CareShield Life, a few questions have been floating around for the existing ElderShield. The biggest question is - is it still essential?

Introduced back in 2002, Eldershield is a CPF-backed severe disability insurance scheme that you can choose to opt out of. You don’t have to do anything; you’ll be automatically included in the scheme once you hit your big 4-0. On top of that, the premiums are payable via Medisave.

In the event of a tragedy that leaves you unable to perform everyday tasks (e.g. washing, dressing, feeding, going to the bathroom and moving around), you’ll receive between $300 and $400 per month, depending on which ElderShield plan you opt for.

ElderShield is for your elderly days

“Eldershield? I’m not an elderly yet so I can worry about it later, right?”

Wrong. You’re not an elf who can live a thousand years, nor are you always young and invincible. It’s better to familiarise with it now rather than later.

By now, your alarm bells should be ringing a little bit. With a basic opt-in insurance scheme like that, surely it comes with limitations.

Yup, it only lasts all of 72 months. Is that even long enough for people with severe disabilities to cope with their lifestyles

Compared to the recently announced CareShield Life, which covers you for as long as you need, ElderShield has a slight disadvantage in the time period.

We’re not soothsayers and we certainly don’t have a crystal ball to predict if you’ll be a fit-as-a-fiddle centenarian. What we can do is drop this nugget of wisdom: you can augment your ElderShield plan with a supplement plan

Zhng your ElderShield

For those are already past 40 years old, there are multiple options to upgrade your ElderShield plan.

For example, Aviva, one of the three private insurers appointed to manage ElderShield, can help you add on the disability benefits period and payout amount. This ranges from 12 years to an unlimited lifetime payout between $600 to $5,000.

Of course, the duration and payout amount is dependent on how much you'll be paying for the premium.

The other two insurers, Great Eastern Life and Income, also provide similar add-ons to your ElderShield plan. 

Pro-tip, get insured early

Eldershield might be waiting for you at the 40-year-old mark, but disabilities don’t. If it comes, it comes. It doesn’t discriminate against the elderly. Moral of the story? Start looking to plug the gaps in your insurance portfolio.

Do you have additional coverage on top of your main whole life or term plan? Have you gotten an integrated shield plan to bolster what Medishield Life is already offering? What about things like critical illness and personal accident? And of course, have you given any thought to disability?

There are so many more pros than cons to an early start. The only one we can think of is budgeting issues, but that can easily be resolved.

If buying insurance policies has taught you anything, the premiums are lower the younger you are, saving you a tidy sum in the long run.

Speaking of which, let’s do something about that budget headache. Well, the good news is, it’s possible to still handle your insurance coverage like a pro.

How Can I Go About Doing It?

Assuming you already have an existing whole life or term plan, simply attach a rider to fortify one area you’re sorely lacking. The annual premiums are minimal. Take note that with the new co-payment scheme for your Integrated Shield plan, this will also affect the rider you're intending to purchase.

However, the logic is still the same - get insured early with at least a basic health insurance. When it's your turn to be included in ElderShield or CareShield Life, whichever you're applicable for, explore supplement plans to enhance your elderly coverage.

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