The way that Medicare measures your use of hospital and skilled nursing facility (SNF) 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 any hospital care (or skilled care in a SNF) for 60 days in a row. If you go into the hospital or a skilled nursing facility after one benefit period has ended, a new benefit period begins if you are in the Original Medicare Plan. You must pay the inpatient hospital deductible for each benefit period. There is no limit to the number of benefit periods you can have.