Focus Group Discussions on enhancement to CPF

CPF Advis­ory Panel has just announced a series of Focus Group Dis­cus­sions (FGD) to be con­duc­ted from mid-November 2014 to mid-January 2015. The dis­cus­sion will be on the fol­low­ing topics:-

  1. Min­imum Sum — how to adjust bey­ond 2015 for future retirees
  2. Lump sum with­draw­als at age 65 years — how much should CPF mem­bers be able to with­draw and under what conditions
  3. CPF pay­outs — how could CPF pay­outs be adjus­ted to address cost of liv­ing increases over time
  4. Altern­at­ive invest­ments and annu­it­ies — how to provide more flex­ib­il­ity for CPF mem­bers who are pre­pared to take on more risks.

You can email to cpf_panel@mom.gov.sg to con­trib­ute your ideas on the above top­ics or to sign up for the FGD.  The first 4 FGDs sched­ule to dis­cuss the first 3 top­ics are as follows:-

  •  15 Novem­ber 2014 (Sat­urday) 9.00am to 12.30pm at *SCAPE
  • 22 Novem­ber 2014 (Sat­urday) 9.00am to 12.30pm at *SCAPE
  • 9 Decem­ber 2014 (Tues­day) 6.30pm to 9.30pm at the National Lib­rary Building
  • 10 Janu­ary 2015 (Sat­urday) 9.00am to 12.30pm (venue to be in town area)

There will be more FGD ses­sions to be announced later.

For more inform­a­tion, please visit http://www.cpfpanel.sg

Lease Buyback Scheme extended to 4-room HDB flat

On 3rd Septem­ber 2014, the Min­istry of National Devel­op­ment (MND) and the Hous­ing & Devel­op­ment Board (HDB) announced four enhance­ments to the Lease Buy­back Scheme (LBS) with effect from 1 April 2015.
Only house­hold with at least one of the owner a Singa­por­ean and all own­ers must be at least at CPF Draw-Down Age in order to par­ti­cip­ate in this LBS.

Firstly, the LBS will be exten­ded to 4-room HDB flats. On top of the pro­ceeds the own­ers receive from selling the tail-end lease of their flat to HDB, they will receive a fur­ther $10,000 cash bonus per house­hold if the total CPF top-up is $60,000 or more. If the total CPF top-up is less than $60,000, the house­hold gets a pro-rated bonus of $1 for every $6 CPF top-up.

Secondly, the income ceil­ing for par­ti­cip­at­ing in the LBS will be raised from $3,000 to $10,000 per month. The income ceil­ing for the Sil­ver Hous­ing Bonus (SHB) scheme will be raised from $3,000 to $10,000 correspondingly.

Thirdly, each owner of a house­hold will only be required to top up his/her CPF RA to half the age-adjusted pre­vail­ing CPF Min­imum Sum (MS), instead of the full age-adjusted pre­vail­ing MS cur­rently. There­fore, they will be able to retain more cash upfront from par­ti­cip­at­ing in the LBS. How­ever, for any cash pro­ceeds above $100,000, the own­ers will still be required to top up the excess amount into their respect­ive CPF RAs. How­ever, if you are a sole-owner of the HDB flat, this rule does not apply to you and you will still be required to top up your CPF RA to the full age-adjusted pre­vail­ing CPF MS.

Fourthly, eld­erly house­holds will have the flex­ib­il­ity to choose the length of lease to retain, based on their age and pref­er­ences, instead of hav­ing one stand­ard 30-year lease for all. Those aged 70 to 74 will have the option of a 25-year lease, those aged 75 to 79 will have the option of a 20-year lease, and those aged 80 or older will have the option of a 15-year lease. On the other hand, those who prefer longer leases can choose to retain more than the min­imum required for their age, in 5-year incre­ments, up to a max­imum of 35 years. Any uncon­sumed lease will be refun­ded to the owner’s estate. A house­hold must have lived for at least 5 years and have at least 20 years of lease to sell to HDB to be eli­gible for the LBS.

Update to Critical Illnesses definitions and coverage

Life Insur­ance Asso­ci­ation Singa­pore (LIA) has just made two changes to the Crit­ical Ill­nesses (CIs) bene­fits offered under new indi­vidual and group insur­ance policies. These changes take imme­di­ate effect.

Firstly, the defin­i­tions to the “severe stage” of the cur­rent 37 CIs are updated. This is to reflect the advances in clin­ical prac­tices, med­ical sci­ence and technology.

Secondly, LIA now allows more than 30 CIs to be covered in a crit­ical ill­ness plan. Cur­rently, only 30 out of the 37 CIs are selec­ted by each insurer to be included in a life insur­ance plan.
Addi­tional crit­ical ill­nesses out­side the 37 stand­ard CIs will be set and defined by indi­vidual insurer. Insurer is also allowed to offer single-illness CI plan such as cancer.

The cur­rent defin­i­tion of the 37 CIs will not be sold from 1 Feb 2014.

MediShield Life and Integrated Shield Plan

The MediShield Life Review Com­mit­tee has just released the recom­mend­a­tions on the enhanced bene­fits to the cur­rent MediShield. The changes are as follows:-

a) Remove the life­time claim limit of $300,000;

b) Remove the cov­er­age age limit of 90 years old;

c) Uni­ver­sal cov­er­age for all, includ­ing pre-existing conditions;

d) Increase the policy year claim limit from $70,000 to $100,000;

e) Increase the daily claim lim­its for nor­mal wards from $450 to $700 and ICU wards from $900 to $1,200;

f) Increase the claim lim­its for sur­gical pro­ced­ures from $150-$1100 to $200-$2000;

g) Increase the daily claim lim­its for com­munity hos­pit­als from$250 to $350;

h) Sub­stan­tially increase the claim lim­its for out­pa­tient can­cer chemo­ther­apy and radio­ther­apy treat­ments, to bet­ter cover the cost of sub­sid­ised can­cer treatment;

i) Lower co-insurance rates from the cur­rent range of 10–20% to 3–10%;

Co-insurance Cur­rent MediShield MediShield Life
Claim­able Amount
$0 — $3,000

20%

10%

$3,001 — $5,000

15%

10%

$5,000 — $10,000

10%

5%

>$10,000

10%

3%

Out­pa­tient Treatments

20%

10%

j) Start premium rebates earlier from age 66, instead of age 71

The addi­tional costs arising from the expec­ted higher claims from those with pre-existing con­di­tions will be shared across those with pre-existing con­di­tions, the exist­ing insured poli­cy­hold­ers, and the Gov­ern­ment. Those with pre-existing con­di­tions will pay higher premi­ums at an addi­tional 30% for a period of 10 years, in view of higher risks. The premium increase for the remain­ing poli­cy­hold­ers as a res­ult of uni­ver­sal cov­er­age should be no more than 3% from cur­rent premiums.

The private Integ­rated Shield Plan (IP) con­sists of two parts – the basic MediShield plan and a top-up por­tion. As an Integ­rated Shield Plan poli­cy­holder, you enjoy the com­bined bene­fits of MediShield, which is run by CPF Board, and the enhanced bene­fits of the top-up por­tion, which is run by your private insurer. When imple­men­ted, MediShield Life will replace the cur­rent MediShield por­tion of your IP.

Because MediShield Life will provide cov­er­age for all pre-existing con­di­tions, you will also enjoy the MediShield Life cov­er­age, for life, includ­ing for any pre-existing con­di­tions that you may have. This will apply even if the con­di­tion is excluded fromthe top-up cov­er­age by your Integ­rated Shield insurer.

As the admin­is­trator of MediShield Life, the CPF Board will assess all claims from the IP poli­cy­hold­ers and make pay­outs accord­ing to the MediShield Life bene­fits. The CPF Board will for­ward MediShield Life pay­outs to the private insurer, who will com­pute its share of cov­er­age and then provide the com­bined pay­out to the hos­pit­als directly.

All Integ­rated Shield Plan poli­cy­hold­ers will also receive cov­er­age for life under MediShield Life. Because Integ­rated Shield Plans premi­ums include a MediShield com­pon­ent which will become MediShield Life in future, eli­gible IP poli­cy­hold­ers will also receive sub­sidies from the Gov­ern­ment to help pay for part of their MediShield Life premium.

When MediShield shifts to MediShield Life, the premium for the MediShield por­tion will increase due to the MediShield Life changes. Hence, the over­all premium for Integ­rated Shield Plans may also increase.

The Life Insur­ance Asso­ci­ation has assured the MediShield Life Review Com­mit­tee that the bene­fit recom­mend­a­tions made by the Com­mit­tee will have min­imal impact on the IP (i.e. top-up) com­pon­ent of premi­ums of Integ­rated Shield Plans. Insurers will assess the impact of the MediShield Life changes on the over­all IP premium and will advise their poli­cy­hold­ers when the changes are confirmed.

All Singa­pore cit­izens will be eli­gible for the fol­low­ing sub­sidies on their MediShield Life premi­ums: trans­itional sub­sidies to cush­ion the increase in their pay­able MediShield premium, as well as Pion­eer Gen­er­a­tion MediShield sub­sidies if they are Pion­eers and MediShield Life premium sub­sidies if they meet the income cri­teria. All Integ­rated Shield Plan poli­cy­hold­ers will enjoy the same sub­sidies for the MediShield Life com­pon­ent of their IP premiums.

The Gov­ern­ment will release more inform­a­tion on how you will be assessed for the premium sub­sidies when ready.

New Asian Income Fund from NTUC Income

NTUC Income has just launched a new fund, Asian Income Fund, that intends to dis­trib­ute monthly dividend pay­out of 5–6% per annum.  It cap­tures the strong growth poten­tial of Asia through both equit­ies and bonds. Investors gain from an act­ive asset alloc­a­tion strategy which aims to max­im­ize yield and total return in dif­fer­ent mar­ket envir­on­ments (Recov­ery, Expan­sion, Slow­down and Recession).

More import­antly, NTUC Income will guar­an­tee 105% of the invest­ment amount or cash value, whichever is higher, in the event of untimely death or Total Per­man­ent Dis­ab­il­ity (TPD) before age 65, After age 65, it is 100% of the invest­ment amount or cash value, whichever is higher, in the event of untimely death.  This is on top of the monthly with­drawal of the dividends over the years.

The Cur­rent Pro­mo­tion offers a 10% bonus on the net amount of the new dis­tri­bu­tion declared for Asian Income Fund and will be given each month, up to 30 Octo­ber 2014. This bonus is only pay­able once for each dis­tri­bu­tion arising from net new invest­ments and top-ups. It is not applic­able to monthly dis­tri­bu­tion arising from switches into this fund. The bonus will be accu­mu­lated and pay­able together with the accu­mu­lated dis­tri­bu­tion 45 days after 30 Octo­ber 2014.

The Asian Income Fund is pay­able on a monthly basis with effect from Novem­ber 2014. There­after, NTUC Income intends to pay the dis­tri­bu­tion within 45 days from the declar­a­tion date, which is the 2nd last work­ing day of the month.

For example, if Mr Lee made a new invest­ment of $100,000 into Asian Income Fund on 20 May 2014 and received a monthly dis­tri­bu­tion of $480 for the month of May 2014 to Octo­ber 2014 as follows:

  May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Total
Monthly Dis­tri­bu­tion $480 $480 $480 $480 $480 $480 $2,880

The bonus pay­able based on the above example is $288.

Sub­scrip­tion Method: Cash/SRS

Asian Income Fund Factsheet is here at http://www.income.com.sg/fund/pdf/2014/AsianIncome(Apr).pdf

New Cancer Protect Term Insurance from NTUC Income

Can­cer Pro­tect is a reg­u­lar premium non-participating term insur­ance plan which provides cov­er­age for early stage and advanced stage of major can­cers. It also offers pro­tec­tion against death (non-accidental) and acci­dental death.

Sum Assured is fixed at $50,000, $80,000 and $100,000. The min­imum entry age is 30 years (last birth­day) and the max­imum entry age is 64 years (last birthday).

It is guar­an­teed renewal every 10 years and the policy can be renewed up till age 84.

Can­cer Pro­tect covers:-

  • Early-stage can­cer – 25% of the sum assured. Only pay once only, even if the policy is renewed.
  • Advanced stage can­cer — 100% of the sum assured if we have already paid a claim on early stage of major can­cers bene­fit. 125% of the sum assured if no early stage can­cer claim.
  • Non-accidental death — 100% of the total premi­ums paid if death hap­pens within one year from the cover start date; or $5,000 if death hap­pens after one year from the cover start date.
  • Acci­dental death
    • Age 69 and below, 100% of sum assured or 30% of sum assured if per­form­ing restric­ted activ­ity at time of accident.
    • Age 70 and above, 100% of the total premi­ums paid if death hap­pens within one year from the cover start date; or $5,000 if death hap­pens after one year from the cover start date.

How­ever, if the cause of acci­dental death is excluded, only 100% of the total premi­ums paid if death hap­pens within one year from the cover start date; or $5,000 if death hap­pens after one year from the cover start date. This bene­fit is pay­able only if death hap­pens within 365 days of the accident.

You can find the detailed cov­er­age in the Policy Con­di­tion doc­u­ment here at http://www.income.com.sg/forms/insDocument/CancerProtect.pdf.

NTUC Income New Whole-life Comprehensive Critical Illness Vivocare 100

NTUC Income has just launched Vivo­c­are 100. It is a com­pre­hens­ive lim­ited premium, whole-life insur­ance cov­er­age against the unex­pec­ted such as death, Total Per­man­ent Dis­ab­il­ity (TPD) and extens­ive range of 100 med­ical con­di­tions for Spe­cial, Juven­ile, Early, Inter­me­di­ate and Advanced stages of Dread Diseases.

Vivo­c­are  100 covers

  • Death and Ter­minal Ill­ness – 300% Remain­ing of Sum Assured up till 65 years old, 100% of Remain­ing Sum Assured with bonuses from 65 years old onwards;
  • 32 Early-stage dread dis­eases - 50% of Remain­ing Sum Assured or up to max­imum $75K. Sub­sequent claim with total claims shall not exceed 50% of the Remain­ing Sum Assured. 7 days sur­vival period applies. Whole-life coverage;
  • 28 Intermediate-stage dread dis­ease - 100% of remain­ing Sum Assured plus bonuses or up to max­imum $150K (new dread dis­ease) or the dif­fer­ence for the same early-stage dread dis­ease already claimed within the wait­ing period of 6 months. Premium and Sum Assured are reduced upon claim. Whole-life coverage;
  • 30 Advanced stages of Dread Dis­eases — 100% of Remain­ing Sum Assured plus bonuses, or the dif­fer­ence for the same early-stage dread dis­ease already claimed within the wait­ing period of 6 months. Whole-life coverage;
  • Total Per­man­ent Dis­ab­il­ity — 100% of Remain­ing Sum Assured plus bonuses. Till 65 years old;
  • Spe­cial Dread Dis­eases — Angioplasty, Dia­betic Com­plic­a­tions, Severe Osteo­porosis, Severe Rheum­at­oid Arth­ritis, Dengue Hem­or­rhagic Fever, Sys­temic Lupus Eryth­em­atosus, Crohn’s Dis­ease, Ulcer­at­ive Colitis, Breast Recon­struct­ive Sur­gery and Pheo­chromo­cyt­oma. Till age 85. Extra 20% of Sum Assured given, up to $30K per con­di­tion, up to 5 con­di­tions per policy. 7 days sur­vival period applies;
  • Juven­ile Bene­fits – Osteo­gen­esis Imper­fecta, Severe Hae­mo­philia, Insulin Depend­ent Dia­betes Mel­litus, Kawa­saki Dis­ease, Rheum­atic Fever with Valv­u­lar Impair­ment, Type Juven­ile Spinal Amyotrophy, Wilson’s Dis­ease, Sys­temic Juven­ile Rheum­at­oid Arth­ritis, Intel­lec­tual Impair­ment due to Sick­ness or Injury and Glom­er­uloneph­ritis with Neph­rotic Syn­drome. Till age 18. Extra 30% of Sum Assured given, up to $30K per con­di­tion, up to 5 con­di­tions per policy. 7 days sur­vival period applies.

The premium option is 15-year, 20-year, 25-year, up to 64 age Last Birth Date (LBD), or 84 age LBD.

FAST interbank transfer from 17 March 2014

The Asso­ci­ation of Banks in Singa­pore has just announced that Fast And Secure Trans­fers (FAST) of elec­tronic funds trans­fer from one bank to another bank will be almost instant using the inter­net and mobile plat­forms, start­ing from 17 March 2014 8am. This is much improve­ment from the cur­rent turn­around time of up to three work­ing days.

The max­imum funds allow for inter­b­ank trans­fer is cur­rently set at $10,000. This ser­vice is free for all retail cus­tom­ers. How­ever, the per trans­ac­tion fee ranges from 20 cents to 5 dol­lars for cor­por­ate customers.

The 14 par­ti­cip­at­ing banks are ANZ Bank, CIMB Bank, Cit­ibank, DBS Bank, Deutsche Bank, Far East­ern Bank, HSBC, May­bank, OCBC Bank, RHB Bank, The Royal Bank of Scot­land, Stand­ard Chartered Bank, Sum­itomo Mit­sui Bank­ing Cor­por­a­tion and United Over­seas Bank.