Medicare and Caregivers

Frequently Asked Questions

15. What is a benefit period?

A benefit period is the way that Original Medicare measures a person's use of hospital and skilled nursing facility (SNF) services. (A skilled nursing facility is a nursing facility with the staff and equipment available to give skilled nursing care and/or skilled rehabilitation services such as changing sterile dressings and physical therapy.) A benefit period begins the day a person goes to a hospital or skilled nursing facility. The benefit period ends when the person hasn't received any inpatient hospital care (or skilled care in an SNF) for 60 days in a row. If a person goes into a hospital or a skilled nursing facility after one benefit period has ended, a new benefit period begins. The person must pay the inpatient hospital deductible for each benefit period.