Medicare Coverage for Skilled Nursing Facilities: A Comprehensive Guide

Home » Resources » Medicare Coverage for Skilled Nursing Facilities: A Comprehensive Guide

Skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) play a crucial role in providing specialized care and rehabilitation services to individuals who require intense medical attention due to illness, injury, or surgery. Understanding whether Medicare covers the expenses associated with SNFs is essential for beneficiaries and their families.

Medicare Part A and Skilled Nursing Facility Coverage

Medicare Part A primarily covers hospital stays, but it also provides limited coverage for skilled nursing facility care. To qualify for Medicare coverage in a SNF, certain conditions must be met. These conditions include:

  1. Prior Hospitalization: Medicare requires beneficiaries to have a qualifying inpatient hospital stay of at least three consecutive days, not including the day of discharge.
  2. SNF Certification: The SNF must be certified by Medicare, and the beneficiary must require skilled nursing or rehabilitation services on a daily basis.
  3. Timely Admission: The beneficiary should be admitted to a Medicare-certified SNF within 30 days of the hospital discharge.

Services Covered by Medicare in Skilled Nursing Facilities

Once the eligibility criteria are met, Medicare Part A can cover various services provided by skilled nursing facilities. These services include:

  1. Semi-Private Room: Medicare covers a semi-private room, which includes accommodation, meals, and other essentials.
  2. Skilled Nursing Services: Medicare provides coverage for skilled nursing care, including wound care, injections, and monitoring of vital signs.
  3. Rehabilitation Services: Medicare covers physical, occupational, and speech therapy sessions necessary for recovery.
  4. Medications: Medicare Part A covers medications administered during the stay in the skilled nursing facility.
  5. Medical Supplies and Equipment: Medicare includes coverage for necessary medical supplies and equipment used during the stay.
  6. Meals: Medicare provides coverage for regular meals, ensuring that beneficiaries receive proper nutrition during their stay.
  7. Social Services: Skilled nursing facilities offer social services, including counseling, discharge planning, and assistance with long-term care options.

Duration and Limits of Medicare Coverage

Medicare coverage for skilled nursing facility care is subject to certain limitations. It is important to be aware of the following details:

  1. Benefit Period: Medicare coverage for skilled nursing facility care is provided on a benefit period basis. A benefit period starts the day the beneficiary enters a hospital or skilled nursing facility and ends when they have not received any inpatient care for 60 consecutive days.
  2. Length of Coverage: For the first 20 days in a skilled nursing facility, Medicare covers the full cost. From day 21 to day 100, the beneficiary is responsible for a daily coinsurance amount, unless they have supplemental insurance that covers it.
  3. Beyond 100 Days: Medicare does not cover skilled nursing facility care beyond 100 days in a benefit period. Beneficiaries may need to explore other options such as long-term care insurance, Medicaid, or private payment arrangements.

Additional Considerations for Medicare Coverage of Skilled Nursing Facilities

While Medicare provides coverage for skilled nursing facility care, it is important to consider the following:

  1. Prior Authorization: Some services may require prior authorization from Medicare to ensure coverage.
  2. Medical Necessity: Medicare coverage is contingent upon the medical necessity of skilled nursing facility care.
  3. Coverage Gaps: It is important to be aware of potential gaps in coverage and explore supplemental insurance options to mitigate any financial burden.
  4. Continuous Evaluation: Medicare coverage is subject to continuous evaluation of the beneficiary’s progress and medical needs.


Navigating the intricacies of Medicare coverage for skilled nursing facilities can be overwhelming. Hope that this comprehensive guide has provided you with valuable insights into the eligibility criteria, services covered, duration of coverage, and additional considerations. Making informed decisions about healthcare options is crucial, and understanding the nuances of Medicare coverage empowers you to plan for the future with confidence.


  • Medicare Part A provides limited coverage for skilled nursing facility care.
  • Skilled nursing facilities offer various services, including skilled nursing care, rehabilitation, medications, and social services.
  • Medicare coverage for skilled nursing facility care is subject to limitations, including benefit periods and coinsurance requirements.
  • Prior authorization, medical necessity, coverage gaps, and continuous evaluation are important considerations.

Useful Resources:

Insurance Facts

Join the 65+ million Americans
looking for insurance options

Description: Health insurance is a crucial form of coverage that helps protect you and your family from high medical costs. It provides financial support by covering medical expenses such as hospitalization, doctor visits, prescription drugs, and preventive care. Having health insurance ensures that you can access necessary healthcare services without facing significant financial burdens. Additionally, many countries mandate health insurance to ensure that their citizens receive essential medical care.

Description: Auto insurance is a legal requirement in most countries for anyone owning a vehicle. It offers financial protection in case of accidents, theft, or damage caused by your vehicle to others or their property. Different types of auto insurance, such as liability, collision, and comprehensive coverage, cater to various needs. It is crucial to have appropriate auto insurance to avoid potential financial losses and legal issues in the event of an accident.

Description: Life insurance is a policy that provides a lump sum payment to beneficiaries upon the insured’s death. It is an essential financial planning tool that offers peace of mind, knowing that your loved ones will have financial security and stability after you are gone. Life insurance can be used to cover funeral expenses, outstanding debts, mortgage payments, and even provide income replacement for the family. The amount of coverage needed depends on individual circumstances, such as family size, outstanding debts, and future financial goals.

Description: Homeowners insurance is designed to protect your home and personal belongings against unexpected events like fire, theft, vandalism, or natural disasters. It provides coverage for both the physical structure of your home and your possessions inside it. Moreover, homeowners insurance often includes liability coverage, which protects you if someone is injured on your property. Lenders typically require homeowners insurance for anyone with a mortgage to safeguard their investment.

Description: Travel insurance offers coverage for unforeseen events that may occur during your travels, both domestically and internationally. It can include benefits such as trip cancellation/interruption, medical emergencies, lost luggage, travel delays, and emergency evacuation. Travel insurance is especially important when planning expensive trips, traveling to remote locations, or engaging in adventurous activities. It helps mitigate financial losses and provides assistance when facing unexpected challenges away from home.

Newsletter Sign-Up:

Stay in the Loop!

Receive important insurance information right in your inbox weekly!

Newsletter Form | Email Verication