Changes in CPF Act

The Straits Times, dated 22 Novem­ber 2011, just pub­lished the fol­low­ing 3 changes to the CPF Act.

CPF Top-up
Pre­vi­ously, CPF mem­bers could only con­trib­ute to their own accounts or those of fam­ily mem­bers. Employ­ers could also con­trib­ute to the accounts of employ­ees. Now, vol­un­tary con­tri­bu­tions to a member’s account can be made by any per­son, com­pany or asso­ci­ation.

Reversal of CPF SA Trans­fer
Pre­vi­ously, once the CPF OA money is trans­ferred to CPF SA account, it is irre­vers­ible. Now, they can be reversed under spe­cial cir­cum­stances. For instance, a CPF mem­ber who suf­fers unfore­seen fin­an­cial hard­ship after the trans­fer may need the trans­ferred sav­ings to ser­vice his hous­ing instal­ments. The amend­ment allows CPFB to make excep­tions and allows trans­fers to be reversed in such cases.

Port­ab­il­ity of Home Pro­tec­tion Scheme (HPS)
Pre­vi­ously, HPS is not port­able. That is to say, if a CPF mem­ber sells away cur­rent HDB flat and buy a new flat, the old HPS will be ter­min­ated. CPF mem­ber will then need to apply for new HPS cov­er, sub­ject to health under­writ­ing. This is not desir­able as member’s health con­di­tion may not be good then. Now, CPFB is able to waive the require­ment of good health for mem­bers who were insured under HPS for their pre­vi­ous flat.

Silver Tsunami hitting Singapore: can we survive?

Sil­ver Tsunami is a term used to describe the enorm­ous fin­an­cial resources required to sup­port the high pro­por­tion of seni­or cit­izens age 65 years old and above in a coun­try. It will attack most developed coun­tries like Singa­pore in near future. The daunt­ing truth is, by 2030, about 23% of Singa­pore pop­u­la­tion will be aged 65 and above, lag­ging behind Japan only. The medi­an age will be 41 then and will rise to 54 by 2050, trail­ing behind only Japan, South Korea and Macau (see Singa­pore faces ‘sil­ver tsunami’ in Asi­aTime Online). What can we do to weath­er the Tsunami in time to come…?

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4% Floor Rate for CPF Special, Medisave and Retirement Accounts

CPF Board has just announced the exten­sion of the floor rate of 4% interest p.a. for Spe­cial, Medis­ave and Retire­ment Account (SMRA) till 31 Decem­ber 2012.

Since 1 Janu­ary 2008, sav­ings in SMRA have been inves­ted in Spe­cial Gov­ern­ment Secur­it­ies (SSGS) which earn an interest rate pegged to the 12-month aver­age yield of 10-year Singa­pore Gov­ern­ment Secur­it­ies (10YSGS) plus 1%. The aver­age yield of the 10YSGS plus 1%, from 1 Septem­ber 2010 to 31 August 2011, works out to be 3.30%. As this is lower than the floor rate of 4%, CPF mem­bers will con­tin­ue to enjoy the 4% interest p.a..

An addi­tion­al 1% interest will con­tin­ue to be paid on the first $60,000 of a member’s com­bined bal­ances, with up to $20,000 from the Ordin­ary Account (OA).  There­fore, the SMRA mon­ies which form the first $60,000 of a member’s com­bined bal­ances will there­fore con­tin­ue to earn a 5% interest rate.

From 1 Jan 2013, the SMRA rates will be pegged to the 12-month aver­age yield of 10YSGS plus 1%, sub­ject to a floor rate of 2.5% per annum.

Source : http://mycpf.cpf.gov.sg/CPF/News/News-Release/N_30September2011.htm

What can Medisave use for Chronic Illnesses Management and for Health Screening?

Chron­ic Ill­ness Man­age­ment

The Medis­ave for Chron­ic Dis­ease Man­age­ment Pro­gramme (CDMP) was launched in Oct 2006.  Dia­betes Mel­litus was the first chron­ic dis­ease covered under the scheme. Sub­sequently, hyper­ten­sion, lip­id dis­orders, stroke, asthma and chron­ic obstruct­ive pul­mon­ary dis­ease (COPD), Schizo­phrenia, Major Depres­sion were added to the list. There are now a total of 8 chron­ic dis­eases under CDMP. From 1 Nov 2011, demen­tia adn bipolar dis­order will be included too. For each bill, patients will only need to pay the first $30 of the bill (as the deduct­ible) as well as 15 per cent of the bal­ance of the bill. Medis­ave can be used to pay for the remain­ing amount. This is regard­less of wheth­er the bill is for a one-off vis­it or a pack­age.

  •  Deduct­ible:
    A deduct­ible of $30 will be set on each out­pa­tient bill. Bills below $30 will con­tin­ue to be paid in cash
  • Co-pay­ment:
    A co-pay­ment (in cash) of 15% on each out­pa­tient bill in excess of the deduct­ible will be set; and
  • Annu­al with­draw­al lim­it:
    With­draw­als will be sub­ject to an annu­al out­pa­tient with­draw­al lim­it of $300 per Medis­ave account. Patients can also use the Medis­ave of their imme­di­ate fam­ily member(s)* to pay for their treat­ment, up to a lim­it of $300 per year per account. A max­im­um of up to 10 accounts may be used.

 

Health Screen­ing

Women aged 50 and above can use their own or their imme­di­ate fam­ily member’s Medis­ave for their screen­ing mam­mo­grams at approved mam­mo­gram centres. Under the Medisave300 scheme, up to $300 per Medis­ave account a year can be used for screen­ing mam­mo­grams from 1 Jul 2011.   Per­sons aged 50 and above can use their own or their imme­di­ate fam­ily member’s Medis­ave for their screen­ing colono­scop­ies at approved colono­scopy centres. The with­draw­al lim­it for screen­ing colono­scop­ies will be pegged at the pre­vail­ing amount for exist­ing colono­scopy pro­ced­ures, as giv­en below.

Descrip­tion

Medis­ave with­draw­al lim­it for costs related to pro­ced­ure

Medis­ave with­draw­al lim­it for *related hos­pit­al charges

Total

Colono­scopy, fibre­optic (screen­ing)

$950

$300

$1,250

Colono­scopy, fibre­optic with remov­al of polyps (screen­ing)

$1,250

$300

$1,550

* Refers to hos­pit­al­isa­tion costs like labor­at­ory tests, con­sum­ables and med­ic­a­tion etc. These costs will be sub­jec­ted to the per diem lim­it of $300 per day sim­il­ar to the Medis­ave with­draw­al lim­it for all day sur­gery pro­ced­ures

Early-Payout Critical Illness Plan – Where shall it stand in our Risk Management?

There are now a flood of many early-stage crit­ic­al ill­ness plans in the recent 2–3 years. This plan is con­sidered part of the suite of health insur­ance. But what is the pri­or­ity shall we give to it com­pared to the hos­pit­al­isa­tion and sur­gic­al plan? And also to the tra­di­tion­al crit­ic­al ill­ness plan that pays upon more advanced stage of the crit­ic­al ill­ness?

Being a lay­man and not a pro­fes­sion­al doc­tor, we may not be able to fully under­stand the defin­i­tion of the early-stage, inter­me­di­ate-stage and the advanced-stage crit­ic­al ill­ness. How­ever, the prob­ab­il­ity of claim exper­i­ence and the lim­it it imposes may shed some light.

First thing first, the most import­ant insur­ance plan for any­one to get is the hos­pit­al and sur­gic­al plan. This plan reim­burses the med­ic­al expenses that you incur in the hos­pit­al, regard­less of the ser­i­ous­ness of the ill­ness. You can be war­ded for obser­va­tion, dengue fever, acci­dent etc. Hence, the cov­er­age is very wide. The premi­um is also afford­able with the main plan pay­able using CPF Medis­ave. It is best to get the Private Integ­rated Shield Plan that offers the “As Charged” fea­ture. As there is the deduct­ible and co-insur­ance, you can buy the rider to cov­er these gaps using cash. It is good to get this even for young baby or even if you have com­pany insur­ance. This is the health insur­ance that requires very strin­gent under­writ­ing. You need good health to be covered com­pletely without exclu­sion.


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Medisave to pay for mammogram and colonoscopy

With effect from 1 July 2011, CPF Medis­ave can be used to screen for breast can­cer and colorectal can­cer. This may encour­age more to screen for these two top can­cers in Singa­pore, with over 1400 cases a year.

The lim­it for mam­mo­gram is $300 a year. It is $950 for colono­scopy, plus $300 a day for any addi­tion­al hos­pit­al charges. How­ever, if you have bought the Medis­ave-Approved Integ­rated Shield Plan such as NTUC Enhanced IncomeShield, colono­scopy is a day sur­gery and hence is claim­able. 

It is recom­men­ded for women aged 50 to 69 to go for a mam­mo­gram once every two years. And it is once every 10 years for those are above 50 years old. Though the cheap­er altern­at­ive stool test can be done annu­ally, it may not be that accur­ate.

$0 Medical Expenses: is it possible? (part 1/2)

Singa­pore health­care sys­tem is one of the more well-estab­lished in the world. While the costs for med­ic­al treat­ment at the heav­ily sub­sid­ized B2 and C wards at the Singa­pore Restruc­tured hos­pit­als remain afford­able, treat­ment and med­ic­a­tion at private hos­pit­al or non-sub­sid­ized wards can be high. So, hav­ing suf­fi­cient med­ic­al (hos­pit­al­isa­tion) and life insur­ance cov­er­age for you and your fam­ily mem­bers are import­ant in order to battle against the increas­ing med­ic­al expenses.

In this first part of this two-part art­icle on $0 Med­ic­al Expenses: is it pos­sible?, I’ll share with you how the as-charged integ­rated shield plan (ISP) offered by insur­ance com­pan­ies and the riders for the ISP can be used to cov­er all the med­ic­al expenses, effect­ively cut­ting it down to $0.

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CPF Medisave Required Amount to be raised

From 1 Janu­ary 2011, CPF mem­bers who are turn­ing 55 will need to retain $27,500 in their CPF Medis­ave account, up from the cur­rent $22,500.

There­fore, if there is short­fall in the CPF Medis­ave Required Amount, the excess bey­ond the cur­rent CPF Min­im­um Sum of $123,000 from CPF Ordin­ary Account (OA) and CPF Spe­cial Account (SA) will be used to top-up the CPF Medis­ave short­fall.
 
CPF Board has also exten­ded the min­im­um interest rate of 4% to the CPF SA, Retire­ment Account (RA) and Medis­ve Account (MA) till end of 2011, which was sup­posed to end this year. From Jan 2012, the CPF SA, RA and MA will be pegged to the 12-month aver­age yield of 10-year Singa­pore Gov­en­ment Secur­it­ies (10YSGS) plus 1 per cent, adjus­ted quarterly. The aver­age 10YSGS yield plus 1 per cent from 1 Dec 2009 till 30 Nov 2010 is 3.41%, lower the the min­im­um of 4% on SMRA. Hence, the interest for the next quarter will remain at 4%.

An extra 1% interest will con­tin­ue to be paid on the first $60,000 of the com­bined bal­ances from CPF OA, SA, MA and RA, with max­i­mi­um $20,000 from CPF OA. The extra 1% interest will be paid into member’s CPF SA or RA.

H1N1 Pandamic: What travel and health insurance cover?

Will you be covered by your travel- and health-insur­ance policies if you gets infec­ted with the Influ­enza A (H1N1) vir­us when you are over­sea, or if you can­celled your trip as a pre­cau­tion­ary meas­ure? Here are the answers…

my paper (01 Jul 09) checked with sev­en insur­ance and health groups on Mr Tan’s con­cerns as the vir­us spreads glob­ally…

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Latest MediShield Scheme Effective on 1 Dec 08

From 1 Dec 08, Singa­por­ean can expect their big hos­pit­al bill in B2/C wards to be covered by MediShield Scheme by up to 80%, up from the cur­rent 60% cap. This of course, comes with increase in premi­um, from less than $1 to $40 per month increase in premi­um. The new premi­um is shown in the table below.

Age (Next Birth­day) Cur­rent Annu­al Premi­ums Revised Annu­al Premi­ums
< 30 30 33
31 — 40 40 54
41–50 80 114
51 — 60 160 225
61 — 65 225 332
66 — 70 265 372
71 — 73 335 390
74 — 75 375 462
76 — 78 420 524
79 — 80 510 615
81 — 83 600 1087
84 — 85 705 1123

The annu­al Medis­ave with­draw­al lim­it will be raised to $1,150 for poli­cy­hold­ers who are above 80 years old, while it still remains at $800 for the rest of the poli­cy­hold­ers. Also, the Gov­ern­ment will also be top­ping up the Medis­ave accounts in Septem­ber 08 for those above 50 years old, which range from $150 to $550. The enhanced cov­er­age for MediShield can be found at MOH web­site here.

The above is def­in­itely good news for those poli­cy­hold­ers who has pre-exist­ing ill­ness covered by MediSheild ori­gin­ally, but not by their enhanced Medis­ave-approved private Shield Plan.