MediShield Life and ElderShield – same same or different?

How much do you really know about these two government-based schemes? And do you know how they can help you?

So you're probably aware that we have a national health insurance scheme called "MediShield Life".  And you may also have heard of another national insurance scheme called "ElderShield" – especially if you're over 40 years old.

But how much do you really know about these two government-based schemes? And do you know how they can help you?

Here are the fundamental facts about the two.

  MediShield Life ElderShield
What is it A basic hospitalisation insurance plan which helps pay for large hospitalisation and selected costly outpatient treatment. A severe disability insurance plan which provides basic financial protection for long-term care.
How do I sign up for this All Singaporeans and Permanent Residents are automatically enrolled at birth. All Singaporeans and Permanent Residents are automatically enrolled at age 40, unless you choose to opt out.
How does it work Reimburses you for the cost of claimable medical bills, up to the claim limit of S$100,000/policy year, so you pay less cash or Medisave. Pays out S$400/month, for up to 6 years, if you're disabled (defined as inability to do 3 out of 6 specific activities of daily living independently). This cash payout is meant to help you offset the cost of care needed and cost of living.
How do I pay premiums Fully payable by Medisave Fully payable by Medisave
How long do I pay premiums for Premiums are payable for life From age 40 till age 65 only (though you continue to be covered for life)
Can I increase my coverage?

Yes, for increased coverage, you can top up with Integrated Shield Plans (IPs) purchased from approved insurers such as Aviva. 

Integrated Shield Plans provide additional coverage and increased claim limits, so you have the option to receive treatment at higher class wards or private hospitals, and still be covered for the higher cost. IPs also provide coverage for pre- and post-hospitalisation treatment, which the basic MediShield Life doesn't. There are also other benefits that insurers offer – for example, Aviva's MyShield offers discounted premium rates your children* till they're 20 years old, if both parents are covered under MyShield Plan 1 or 2.

Yes, for increased coverage, you can top up with ElderShield Supplements purchased from approved insurers such as Aviva.

ElderShield Supplements allow you to increase the monthly payout amount and/or lengthen the payout duration (check out how much long-term care costs and how long it's needed for). They also typically come with additional benefits – for example, Aviva's MyCare offers a Rehabilitation Benefit so you continue receiving payouts even if you've recovered slightly and have fallen out of the claim criteria.

*Terms and conditions apply

So now you know how MediShield Life and ElderShield work!

Here's a simple illustration to demonstrate how the two plans complement each other:

John suffers a stroke.

 He's admitted to the hospital, requires surgery, as well as post-surgery check-ups. MediShield Life and his Integrated Shield Plan help to cover his hospitalisation and surgical fees so that John can afford the treatment.

After being discharged from the hospital, John is still experiencing weakness and has difficulty fulfilling his activities of daily living. He's unable to get back to work and has to hire a live-in domestic helper to take care of him. Other than this, he needs to modify his home with ramps and non-slip floors to help with his mobility. This is when his ElderShield and ElderShield Supplements payouts come in handy for him to afford the long-term care and living expenses he needs.

About the author: Aviva


We're one of the leading providers of retirement, investment, insurance and health solutions in Singapore. We're a provider of Medisave-approved Integrated Shield plans, an appointed insurer for the national ElderShield scheme, and have protected SAF servicemen since 1983. In the general insurance space, we were the pioneer insurer in Singapore to offer car insurance online, changing the market landscape. To find out more about the solutions we offer, please visit

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