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The benefit period is the length of time your long term care insurance policy will continue to pay out daily benefits once you become eligible to receive benefits under your plan. Insurance companies usually offer a range of anywhere from two to five years from which you can choose. Some plans even offer lifetime benefit periods. The longer the benefit period you elect, the higher your premiums will be. When trying to decide, keep in mind that according to the Health Insurance Association of America, 40% of the elderly receive paid home health care services and about 50% of all elderly will spend an average of two-and-a-half to three years in a nursing home.