Life insurer Great Eastern surveyed 1,000 Singaporeans and Permanent Residents aged 30 to 64 for its Long-Term Care Study 2023. Here’s an overview of the key highlights and notable findings.
The Importance of Planning for Long-Term Care
Planning for long-term care is a need, not a want. Did you know? By the age of 65, 50% of healthy Singaporeans could become severely disabled in their lifetime, and may need long-term care.
It is further estimated that around 3 in 10 could remain in severe disability for 10 years or more.
In addition, Singapore’s demographic landscape is on the brink of a major shift. By 2030, the Lion City is projected to see a quarter of its population aged 65 and over.
Young Adults and Disability: A Statistical Reality Check
Dispelling common beliefs, the study points out an alarming trend: disability does not solely affect the elderly.
It can happen to younger adults, too. Since the launch of GREAT CareShield in October 2020, Great Eastern has seen a growing number of young claimants under the age of 40.
The life insurer’s data reveals that 40% of the claimants for their GREAT CareShield plan are in their 30s – with the cause of disability ranging from road traffic accidents to illnesses such as stroke and brain haemorrhage – underscoring the critical need for broader awareness and preparedness across all age groups.
The Financial Readiness Gap
In financial terms, the study paints a sobering picture of unpreparedness. With 80% of Singaporeans either unsure or not ready to manage the costs associated with disability, there’s a gap in the financial safety net.
Considering the average estimated monthly costs for home care ($2,500) and external care facilities ($3,100), the economic impact of this unpreparedness could be significant for individuals and the healthcare system alike.
Emotional Strains and Care Preferences
The study also sheds light on the emotional concerns that accompany long-term care discussions. 70% of Singaporeans worry about becoming a burden to their families – physically, financially or emotionally.
When it comes to care preferences, Singaporeans show a slight inclination towards professional care in community hospitals or nursing homes (53%), rather than home-based care.
The study also indicates that 7-in-10 would opt for care from professionals or external parties, a choice that reflects a collective wish to maintain independence and avoid imposing on loved ones.
Understanding Insurance: The Knowledge Gap
Despite the existence of schemes like CareShield Life, the study unveils a gap in public knowledge.
Only half of the participants could point out correctly the minimum of Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) affected to trigger a claims payout from CareShield Life (at least 3), suggesting a lack of awareness that could hinder effective pre-planning for long-term care.
This knowledge deficit highlights the need for enhanced education efforts to ensure Singaporeans are well-informed about their insurance options and the importance of early planning.
A Call to Action
Take time to understand what’s important.
There is a gap in the understanding of what long-term care insurance can cover, and this could be due to the priority towards understanding and getting hospitalisation coverage and critical illness insurance first.
More can be done by creating awareness of one’s basic long-term care coverage and how one can increase their coverage.
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