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20 Apr 2020

Woman putting a coin into a piggy bank

 You should start planning for your healthcare needs while you’re still young


Many people in their 20s and 30s are at the peak of their health, and most of them would think that there is no urgency to worry about their healthcare needs. After all, there are likely to be more pressing things on their minds at that age; whether it’s advancing in their careers, getting married, or buying their first home.


Yet, even young people can fall ill or get injured, and when that happens, it’s important for you to have adequate funds to meet your healthcare expenses. Besides, money is probably the last thing you want to worry about when you’re trying to recover from an ailment.  


Singaporeans are living longer. By 2030, a quarter of Singapore's population will be above the age of 65. This means that you should start planning as soon as possible to ensure that you have the means to meet your future healthcare needs, which are typically higher as you get older. 


Thankfully, Singapore’s healthcare system provides a range of schemes and subsidies that are designed to help Singaporeans finance their healthcare needs. Here’s an overview of the schemes that you should know about when planning for those needs.


Financing your health care needs


Singapore adopts a multi-tiered healthcare financing approach, to ensure that no Singaporean is denied access to basic healthcare due to inability to pay.

Table listing healthcare financial schemes and their purpose and benefits

Apart from significant government subsidies across all healthcare settings, Singaporeans are covered for life under MediShield Life, which protects you from large hospital bills. You can also tap on your MediSave to pay for your healthcare expenses and insurance premiums. Any patient who cannot afford their healthcare bills after subsidies, MediShield Life and MediSave, can apply for MediFund, a safety net for needy Singaporeans. 


To provide you with greater assurance for your long-term care needs, the government will also introduce three new initiatives from 2020:

  • CareShield Life, a new long-term care insurance scheme
  • MediSave Care, which allows cash withdrawals for severely disabled residents
  • ElderFund, a new discretionary assistance scheme targeted at assisting severely disabled, lower-income Singaporeans 

Here are the highlights of these key schemes:

 Table listing healthcare financial schemes and their benefits and eligibility.

MediShield Life

MediShield Life is a basic health insurance plan that provides universal coverage for all Singaporeans and Permanent Residents. It helps pay for large hospital bills and selected costly outpatient treatments, such as dialysis and chemotherapy for cancer. MediShield Life premiums are fully payable by MediSave. 

The Government provides premium subsidies to low- to middle-income Singaporeans to help with their MediShield Life premiums. Additional Premium Support will also be offered to those who cannot afford their MediShield Life premiums even after Government subsidies, MediSave, and who have limited family support. No one will lose their MediShield Life coverage due to an inability to pay.


Patients who wish to have more coverage can consider purchasing an Integrated Shield Plan (IP). IPs ​comprise two parts: 

  • A MediShield Life component (managed by the CPF Board)
  • Additional benefits and coverage offered by private insurers

You can find out more about what you need to consider before taking up an IP here​.

Illustration showing the breakdown of Integrated Shield Plan

CareShield Life (from later in 2020)


The Ministry of Health estimates that 1 in 2 healthy Singaporeans aged 65 could become severely disabled in their lifetime, and may need long-term care. 


As such, it is important to plan not only for our immediate healthcare expenses, but also future long-term care needs, without putting unnecessary burden on our families and caregivers.

Illustration showing statistics of long-term disability of Singaporeans

CareShield Life is a new long-term care insurance scheme that will provide you with basic financial support should you become severely disabled, especially during old age, and need personal and medical care for a prolonged duration. 


CareShield Life will be universal for future cohorts (those born in 1980 or later) when the scheme is launched later in 2020. Those aged 30 to 40 in 2020 will be the first cohorts to join the scheme. Subsequent future cohorts will join the scheme when they reach the age of 30. 


Existing cohorts (those born in 1979 or earlier) can choose to join the scheme from mid-2021 if they are not severely disabled, but it will be optional.

Illustration showing how CareShield Life offers protection

Check your CareShield Life premiums via the Premium Calculator​.



MediSave is a national medical savings scheme which helps Singaporeans set aside part of their income into their MediSave Accounts to meet their future hospitalisation, day surgery and costly outpatient expenses. You can also use your MediSave savings for your approved dependants, which include your spouse, children, and parents, as well as your grandparents and siblings if they are Singapore citizens.


Whether it’s for pregnancy-related expenses or the cost for rehabilitation and recovery, MediSave can be used to meet your healthcare needs across all stages of your life. Here are some ways you can tap on your MediSave!

A list of 10 uses of MediSave



Later in 2020, severely disabled Singapore Residents aged 30 and above will be able to tap on their own or their spouse’s MediSave to withdraw up to $2,400 per year (i.e. $200 per month) in cash for their long-term care needs.

With these healthcare schemes in place, young Singaporeans can have peace of mind that they will be able to afford medical care in unforeseen health situations.  You can ensure that you won’t run into issues with meeting your healthcare needs by doing your part – review your insurance plans regularly to check that you have adequate coverage from today!​



Information accurate as at 20/4/2020.