It is estimated that one in 700 babies in Singapore is affected by Down Syndrome – a genetic condition caused by the presence of an extra chromosome 21. It is associated with a range of developmental difficulties, including delayed motor and cognitive skills, which range from mild to severe.
With Singapore’s current population of 5.47 million, this means that more than 6,000 people are affected by this genetic condition.
However, the special needs segment is not served by most commercial insurers as the pool is small, the risks are uncertain, and the effort required is significant. For years, people with Down Syndrome formed a sector of Singapore that was usually denied insurance.
But with NTUC Income’s SpecialCare (Down Syndrome), they now have access to an affordable insurance scheme that is specially created with them in mind.
First announced on 4 December 2014, SpecialCare (Down Syndrome) is the only policy in the market designed for children and young people with Down Syndrome. Financial relief is given to the policyholders in the event of an accident, and provides outpatient medical and hospitalisation coverage due to accidents and 17 infectious diseases, like hand-foot-mouth disease and dengue fever. It also covers physiotherapy and psychiatric treatment if the child suffers from trauma after an accident.
The insurance scheme is renewable up to the age of 75 and annual premiums start from $198.
With this insurance scheme, families with children and young people with Down Syndrome can feel assured that their children are taken care of financially in the event of an accident.
Ms Margaret Goh, 55, whose 20-year-old son was diagnosed with Down Syndrome as an infant, welcomed the new initiative.
“SpecialCare (Down Syndrome) is a long overdue product. The premium is affordable and it will definitely help to relieve some financial burden in the event of a medical crisis that requires hospitalisation or post care,” said the homemaker who had to give up her business to provide dedicated care for her son.
She added, “I would definitely advise parents of Down Syndrome children to take up a policy like this to help defray unexpected medical expenses from illnesses, ailments or accidents.” SpecialCare (Down Syndrome) underscores NTUC Income’s commitment to provide solutions for the special needs community, and to ensure that they have access to insurance just like any other member of the community.
NTUC Income’s other special plan for persons with special needs is SpecialCare (Autism) launched in August 2013. This is the first insurance plan to provide coverage in Singapore for children and young adults with autism, and provides the much needed relief for families with autistic dependents.