SINGAPORE (Feb 18): Singapore will set aside $6.1 billion for a new Merdeka Generation Fund to provide benefits for close to 500,000 Singaporeans born in the 1950s.

With interested accumulated over time, this amount is expected to cover the full projected costs of over $8 billion, which will last over the lifetimes of these Singaporeans currently aged 60 to 69.

“This is a significant commitment by the government,” says Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat in the Budget 2019 speech. “We hope that it will go some way in providing greater peace of mind for the Merdeka Generation and their families.”

The Merdeka Generation Package comprises five key benefits.

First, all Merdeka Generation seniors will receive a one-time $100 top-up to their Passion Silver cards, which can be used to pay for activities and facilities at Community Clubs, entry to public swimming pools, and public transport, among others.

Starting this year, Merdeka Generation seniors will also receive a MediSave top-up of $200 per year over five years up to 2023.

Third, they will receive lifelong additional subsidies for outpatient care, including special CHAS subsidies for common illnesses, chronic conditions, and dental procedures, as well as additional 25% subsidies off their bills at polyclinics and public specialist outpatient clinics.

Next, Merdeka Generation seniors will enjoy additional MediShield Life premium subsidies for life. The subsidies will start from 5% off their annual MediShield Life premiums, and increase to 10% after they reach 75 years of age.

Finally, the government will provide an additional participation incentive of $1,500 for Merdeka Generation seniors who join CareShield Life when it becomes available for existing cohorts in 2021, on top of the $2,500 previously announced.

An enhancement of the ElderShield scheme, CareShield Life will feature higher payouts that increase over time with no cap on payout duration. This is to provide better protection against the uncertainty of long-term care costs if an individual becomes severely disabled.