It's finally here, it's what you and I love, FREE THINGS! The Merdeka Generation Package!
There are about 500,000 born during 1950-1959 and called the Merdeka Generation.
Your parents may be one of them so this post is to explain to you clearly the incentives within the package.
Just like the Pioneer Generation Package, the Merdeka Generation Package is an incentive by the government to thank our Merdeka Generation for their contributions in nation-building.
Snapshot from PM Lee's NDR2018 when MG package was described. Source here.
Who is eligible for Merdeka Generation (MG) Package?
If you or your parents are between 60-69 years old (Born in 1950-1959) AND became a Singaporean on or before 31 December 1996, YOU ARE ELIGIBLE!
Also, if you're born in the pioneer generation, which means you are currently 70 years old and above and did not receive the Pioneer Generation Package previously, you are also eligible!
You can check your eligibility and find out your status here: https://www.merdekageneration.sg/
Summary of incentives given in MG Package
- One time top-up of $100 for PAssion Silver Card.
- CHAS card giving you subsidised rates at selected clinics.
- $200 Medisave top-ups per year from 2019-2023.
- 5% off Medishield Annual Premiums if you are aged 60-75 or 10% if you are 75 and above.
- A total of $4,000 worth of incentives to enjoy CareShield Life.
Understanding the MG Package incentives better
Now to further break it down...
1) One time top-up of $100 for PAssion Silver Card.
Once you hit 60, you'll receive a mail invite asking you to sign up for the PAssion Silver Card.
This card can be used on Public Transport, ActiveSG facilities and community club activities.
You can redeem the top-up at selected Community Centres, MRT stations and Bus interchanges from 1 July 2019. Sources: Merdeka Generation PAssion Silver CardTop-Up Locations
2) CHAS card giving you subsidised rates at selected clinics
From November 2019, you will receive more subsidies at Polyclinics, Public Specialist Outpatient Clinics (Public SOCs) and Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS) clinics.
CHAS card is now extended to ALL SINGAPOREANS with chronic conditions. If you are not familiar with CHAS card, you may check this seedy post here.
3) $200 Medisave top-ups per year from 2019-2023
You can use this for paying premiums of your Medishield Life, Integrated Shield Plans, CareShield Life, ElderShield and ElderShield Supplements, Outpatient Treatments and Hospitalisation.
4) 5% off Medishield Life Annual Premiums if you are aged 60-75 or 10% off if you are 75 and above.
Your Medishield Life Annual Premiums gets more expensive with age.
Previously, there were transitional subsides which have expired. Now, this MG benefit seems like a PERPETUAL PREMIUM DISCOUNT!
That seems weird, who is going to fund these subsidies? Or was the Medishield Life premium for older ages too high to start with such that there is room for premium discounts?
5) A total of $4,000 worth of incentives to join CareShield Life
CareShield Life is a Disability Insurance that gives you monthly cash payouts for life if you require long term care. Payouts will start from $600 in 2020, which will increase over time.
You can refer to this Premium Calculator to estimate your CareShield Life premiums before and after any Government subsidies or incentives.
If you do not join Careshield Life, this incentive is wasted.
I'm a big advocate of Careshield Life. If you have parents who are not severely disabled (i.e. unable to perform 3 or more ADLs), I think its beneficial to suggest them to opt into Careshield Life in 2021.
There is no maximum entry age into the Careshield Life scheme.
Pioneer Generation (PG) vs Merdeka Generation (MG) package
These benefits may seem attractive but let's dive into a deeper analysis.
Firstly, considering how hefty hospitalisation bills in Singapore are, $200 top-ups of Medisave is actually NOT enough. In any case, its a total of $1,000 over 5 years. A hospital stay will easy wipe it out.
In comparison, the Pioneer Generation Package seemed to be more generous as it was provided LIFETIME TOP UPS! Amounts were also higher for the older age groups!
The subsidies for the Medishield Life Premiums are higher for the Pioneer Generation Package than the Merdeka Generation package. It ranged from 40%-60%, compared to the meagre amount of 5%-10%.
Although the Merdeka Generation Package may have introduced new benefits like a $100 loaded PAssion Silver Card, compared to the Pioneer Generation Package, it is still a small perk.
Summary and some personal thoughts on generation packages
Hopefully, this guide will clarify your doubts and questions about the Merdeka Generation package so that you can help your parents understand it better.
It was announced in the Singapore Budget 2018 that the GST is to be raised from 7% to 9% some time between 2021 and 2025.
So the question really is: Will generational packages be able to offset long-term cost in GST hikes?