What is the “Policy Limit” or “Benefit Period” in a long-term care insurance policy?

Policy Limit = a limit on how much the policy can pay in benefits over your lifetime.

Source: National Association of Insurance Commissioners
A Shopper’s Guide to Long-Term Care Insurance 2009

When buying your long-term care insurance policy, you choose a “Benefit Period”, which is a limit on how much the policy can pay in benefits over your lifetime.

It is sometimes referred to as the “Policy Limit” or the policy’s “Maximum Lifetime Benefit”.

As with any type of insurance, the higher your coverage, the higher the premium.  In other words, the higher the Policy Limit, the higher the premium.

The Benefit Period is usually described in terms of “years of benefits”. Most long-term care policies offer several choices.  Common choices include:

  • 2 years
  • 3 years
  • 4 years
  • 5 years
  • 6 years
  • 10 years
  • Lifetime/Unlimited

A policy with a “3-year Benefit Period” is designed to pay benefits for at least 3 years while you qualify to receive benefits.

A policy with a “5-year Benefit Period” is designed to pay benefits for at least 5 years while you qualify to receive benefits.

A “Lifetime Benefit Period” (also called an “Unlimited Benefit Period”) is designed to pay the policy’s benefits for as long as you qualify for benefits, regardless of how long it may be.

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About Scott A. Olson

Scott A. Olson, is the author of “The Guidebook for Making Long-Term Care Insurance Easier.” He is a licensed insurance agent and has specialized in long-term care insurance since 1995. He is licensed to sell long-term care insurance in over 40 states. Scott was born and raised in New Jersey and attended Rutgers University. Scott was a caregiver for a close relative for two years. That personal experience has made him acutely aware of how to help his clients design and choose a long-term care policy that will benefit them when they need it the most. Scott and his wife Carolyn live in Redlands, California. Scott and Carolyn have four sons.