Written by Emily Eng

Charissa Guan, Anneliese Quek and Chan Jia En had much to say about the soon-to-be implemented Careshield Life Scheme- and they made their voices clear. They took to an online petition, which garnered 1,600 signatures the day after it went live, to appeal for a revision of the higher premiums charged to women in the long-term disability insurance. They want women and men to pay equal premiums.

However, Senior Minister of State Doctor Amy Khor has expressed that in actuarial terms, the higher premiums were justified as women tend to live longer and their chances of developing illnesses in their later years outweigh that of males. Parliament appears split, with 12 out of 19 of the MPs who spoke on the issue being against the higher premiums. In the coverage by Today, it was also debated that men do sometimes pay more for insurance, such as for car insurance and other life insurance policies.

In spite of this, the rallying cry of the women behind this movement remains strong still. Many argue that women in Singapore generally make less money than their male counterparts, and often have less Central Provident Fund (CPF) savings as many are home-makers and do not work.

What about this?

Perhaps a key thing to remember in this issue is that this insurance policy is a government initiative, and citizens expect government-led programs to be gender agnostic. Regardless men or women, Singaporeans should be taken care of equally, and there is an expectation that the government will take into account more than just actuarial justifications in their pricing of insurance schemes.

If there is anything heartening in the issue, it is that Singaporeans are increasingly voicing out in response to policies. As some people have pointed out, the debate is healthy because it forces us to think about each other.

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