Don’t force con­sumers to buy plan that doesn’t cater to them

The Straits Times - - FORUM - Theresa Wee (Mrs)

CareShield Life, a new com­pul­sory gov­ern­ment-run scheme which will be im­ple­mented from 2020 for ev­ery­one be­tween the ages of 30 and 40, is in­tended to re­place the op­tional ElderShield scheme (Govt to run ElderShield scheme from 2021; Jan 8).

While the ob­jec­tives of the plans are no­ble, it is im­por­tant that the pub­lic is given ac­tu­ar­ial stud­ies show­ing the claims ex­pe­ri­ence and the prob­a­bil­ity of claims in Sin­ga­pore for those be­tween the ages of 30 and 40 for such long-term care needs so as to jus­tify start­ing the plan from that age and war­rant it be­ing manda­tory.

With the Gov­ern­ment tak­ing over these long-term care plans, con­sumers are tied to a one-size-fits-all plan.

In the event of a dis­pute of claim, there is no im­par­tial body for the con­sumers to seek res­o­lu­tion from, un­like in the in­sur­ance in­dus­try.

Also, the per­son­nel, train­ing and sys­tem re­sources of the cur­rent par­tic­i­pat­ing in­sur­ance com­pa­nies will be wasted and made re­dun­dant after the takeover. Re­struc­tur­ing would be un­avoid­able, po­ten­tially caus­ing loss of em­ploy­ment to many.

CareShield Life should be open to the in­sur­ance in­dus­try, which has the ex­per­tise, re­sources and sys­tems to ad­min­is­ter the plan.

A sched­ule of ben­e­fits to pro­vide a min­i­mum set of re­quire­ments could be man­dated and the pri­vate in­sur­ers could be given the flex­i­bil­ity to in­clude ad­di­tional ben­e­fits ac­cord­ing to the needs of the var­i­ous groups of con­sumers as well as how much they are able to af­ford.

Con­sumers will then have a se­lec­tion of choices and the com­pe­ti­tion will drive in­sur­ance com­pa­nies to con­tin­u­ously im­prove the qual­ity of their cus­tomer ser­vice.

Con­sumers who are fi­nan­cially pro­tected through in­sur­ance or other fi­nan­cial means should not be forced to pur­chase a plan that does not cater to their needs at that age. This award, in part­ner­ship with UBS for the fourth year run­ning, seeks to hon­our the pos­i­tive im­pact made by Sin­ga­pore­ans and cel­e­brate the tri­umph of the hu­man spirit. Each of these nom­i­nees has a pow­er­ful story that will res­onate with, and in­spire, all of us. Read more about them at str.sg/soty2018 and tell us who should be the win­ner by Jan 15, 6pm.

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