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.

Changes to CPF Contribution Rates from January 2015

Recieved the fol­low­ing sum­mary from CPF Board today on Singa­pore Budget 2014 — Ini­ti­at­ives Related to CPF.

For more details, please refer to resources provided by CPF Board at the end of the article.

 

Changes to CPF Con­tri­bu­tion Rates

Employer con­tri­bu­tion rates to the Medis­ave Account (MA) will be increased for all work­ers to help them save more for health­care needs. Work­ers aged above 50 to 65 will see an addi­tional increase in the employer con­tri­bu­tion rates to the Spe­cial Account (SA) to help them save more for retirement.

Employee con­tri­bu­tion rates to the Ordin­ary Account (OA) will increase for work­ers aged above 50 to 55.

The table below shows these increases in CPF con­tri­bu­tion rates for Singa­pore Cit­izens (SCs), and for Singa­pore Per­man­ent Res­id­ents (SPRs) from their 3rd year of obtain­ing SPR status.

Increases in CPF con­tri­bu­tion rates for SCs and SPRs from Janu­ary 2015

Employee’s age (years) Per­cent­age point increase in CPF con­tri­bu­tion rates (for wages ≥ $750) Alloc­a­tion of increase
Con­tri­bu­tion by employer Con­tri­bu­tion by employee Total OA SA MA
50 and below +1% - +1% - - +1%
Above 50 — 55 +2% +0.5% +2.5% +0.5% +1% +1%
Above 55 — 60 +1.5% - +1.5% - +0.5% +1%
Above 60 — 65 +1.5% - +1.5% - +0.5% +1%
Above 65 +1% - +1% - - +1%

Medis­ave con­tri­bu­tion rates for Self-Employed Per­sons (SEPs) with annual net trade income of $18,000 and above will be raised by 1%.

The rates in the table below are applic­able to SEPs for annual net trade income from 2015.

Con­tri­bu­tion rates applic­able to SEPs from 2015

Annual net trade income (from 2015) Age as at 1 Janu­ary of work year
Below 35 years 35 to below 45 years 45 to below 50 years 50 years and above
Above $6,000 to $12,000 4% 4.5% 5% 5.25%
Above $12,000 to $18,000 Phased in* from 4% to 8% Phased in* from 4.5% to 9% Phased in* from 5% to 10% Phased in* from 5.25% to 10.5%
Above $18,000 8%(Maximum $4,800) 9%(Maximum $5,400) 10%(Maximum $6,000) 10.5%(Maximum $6,300)

*Please refer to the CPF web­site for the phased-in rates.
Spe­cial Employ­ment Credit and Tem­por­ary Employ­ment Credit

To help employ­ers bet­ter cope with the con­tri­bu­tion rate increases in 2015, the Spe­cial Employ­ment Credit (SEC) will be enhanced. Employ­ers will in addi­tion receive a new Tem­por­ary Employ­ment Credit (TEC).

SEC enhance­ment in 2015
Employ­ers hir­ing Singa­por­ean work­ers aged above 50 earn­ing up to $4,000 a month in 2015 will receive an addi­tional off­set of up to 0.5% of wages, mak­ing it a total off­set of up to 8.5%. The cur­rent off­set is up to 8%.
TEC pay­ment in 2015
In 2015, employ­ers will receive a one-year off­set of 0.5% of wages for Singa­por­ean and SPR work­ers, up to the CPF salary ceil­ing of $5,000 per month, based on employ­ees’ incomes paid in 2015. This will help employ­ers cope with the increased Medis­ave con­tri­bu­tion rates.

Find out more:

Singa­pore Budget 2014: Ini­ti­at­ives relat­ing to CPF(more details such as FAQs and con­tact inform­a­tion are available)
Singa­pore Budget 2014: All initiatives
Singa­pore Budget 2014: Full Budget Speech

 

Source: CPF Mem­bers Email Update from CPF Board, 22 Feb 2014

Refinancing of Residential Properties Loan made easier

Owner-Occupied Res­id­en­tial Properties

Mon­et­ary Author­ity of Singa­pore (MAS) has announced to exempt owner-occupied own­ers from the Total Debt Ser­vi­cing Ratio (TDSR) of 60% when they refin­ance the prop­erty loan from bank, as long as they bought the prop­erty before 29 June 2013.

Also, the Mort­gage Ser­vi­cing Ratio  (30% of borrower’s gross monthly salary) will also not apply to HDB flats and Exec­ut­ive Con­domin­i­ums (ECs) when own­ers refin­ance the loan, as long as these homes were pur­chased before 12 Janu­ary 2013 and 10 Decem­ber 2013 respectively.

A sim­ilar con­ces­sion will apply with regard to loan ten­ures, for res­id­en­tial prop­er­ties pur­chased before the respect­ive imple­ment­a­tion dates for the new loan ten­ure lim­its of 30 years for HDB flat and 35 years for oth­ers. For HDB, the imple­ment­a­tion date was 28 August 2013 and for other owner-occupied res­id­en­tial prop­er­ties, the date was 6 Octo­ber 2012. In such cases, bor­row­ers will be allowed to main­tain the remain­ing ten­ures of their loans at the point of refinancing.

Invest­ment Res­id­en­tial Properties

The TDSR threshold of 60 per cent will con­tinue to apply to the refin­an­cing of all invest­ment prop­erty loans. How­ever, MAS will allow a trans­ition period until 30 June 2017, dur­ing which a bor­rower may refin­ance his invest­ment prop­erty loans above the 60 per cent threshold, provided he meets the fol­low­ing conditions:

(a) the prop­erty was bought before 29 June 2013;

(b) the bor­rower com­mits to a debt reduc­tion plan with the fin­an­cial insti­tu­tion (FI) at the point of refin­an­cing; and

© the bor­rower ful­fills the FI’s credit assessment.