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The way that Medicare measures your use of hospital and skilled nursing facility services. A benefit period begins the day you go to a hospital or skilled nursing facility. The benefit period ends when you haven't received hospital or skilled nursing care for 60 days in a row. If you go into the hospital after one benefit period has ended, a new benefit period begins. You must pay the inpatient hospital deductible for each benefit period. There is no limit to the number of benefit periods you can have. (See Deductible; Skilled Nursing Facility.)