Benefit Period

The length of time specified in a policy during which benefits will be paid.

The benefit period specified in a long term care insurance contract determines the plan’s maximum lifetime benefit amount. It does not affect the length of time that benefits can be paid to an eligible insured. As long as the total amount of benefits paid does not exceed the maximum benefit amount, benefits will continue to be paid. For example, a plan that provides a monthly benefit of $5,000 for nursing home care and 60% for home care with a six-year benefit period has a maximum benefit amount of $360,000. Under such a plan, an insured could receive home care benefits for 10 years ($5,000 x 60% x 120 months = $360,000), even though the benefit period is stated as six years. Note that long term care insurance policies that offer lifetime benefits have no maximum benefit amount.