Medicare and Continuing Care

Frequently Asked Questions

32. What is skilled nursing care, and will Medicare cover the costs?

Although Medicare generally does not cover nursing home care, it does cover skilled nursing care services that are needed daily on a short-term basis after a 3-day qualifying hospital stay. Skilled nursing care is health care given when the person needs skilled nursing or rehabilitation staff to manage, observe, and evaluate his or her care. Examples of skilled care include changing sterile dressings and physical therapy. Care that can be given by non-professional staff isn't considered skilled care.

For more information on Medicare coverage of skilled nursing facility care, visit to look at or print a copy of the booklet "Medicare Coverage of Skilled Nursing Facility Care." (Under "Search Tools," select "Find a Medicare Publication.") You can also call 1-800-Medicare (1-800-633-4227) to find out if a free copy can be mailed to you. TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048.