What is Considered a Benefit Period?Benefit periods measure your use of inpatient hospital and skilled nursing facility (SNF) services. A benefit period begins the day you are admitted to a hospital as an inpatient, or to an SNF, and ends the day you have been out of the hospital or SNF for 60 days in a row. After you meet your deductible, Original Medicare pays in full for days 1 to 60 that you are in a hospital. For days 61-90, you pay a daily coinsurance.

Medicare will stop paying for your inpatient-related hospital costs (such as room and board) if you run out of days during your benefit period. To be eligible for a new benefit period, and additional days of inpatient coverage, you must remain out of the hospital or SNF for 60 days in a row. When you start a new benefit period, you will also have a new Part A deductible.

Medigap policies A through L pay for your hospital coinsurance and provide up to an additional 365 lifetime reserve days. Additionally, Plans B through J pays your full hospital deductible.

Note: In response to the coronavirus public health emergency, Medicare has made changes to coverage for SNF care. Beneficiaries who cannot start a new benefit period because of the public health emergency can get another 100 days of covered SNF care without having to begin a new benefit period.

If you are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan, contact your plan to learn about the costs and coverage rules for inpatient care.

Read More: What if My Skilled Nursing Facility Care Is Longer Than 100 Days?
Learn About: How Does a Medigap Policy and Skilled Nursing Facility Care Work?
Return to: Medicare In-Depth

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