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Benefit period means an episode of illness. A benefit period starts when a patient enters ahospital or skilled nursing facility (SNF) and extends till 60 days after the patient has been discharged from the hospital or SNF. During the next hospital stay, a new period is calculated. There is no limit to the number of benefit period that a person can have. A coverage under hospital insurance program is based on these benefit periods. The cost of hospitalization for the benefit period will be paid by the medicare up to 90 days. A one-time deductible fee for the first 60 days in a benefit period and an additional daily fee called a co-payment for hospital care for 61-90 days will be paid by the patient. Medicare benefits are distributed in strictly defined benefit periods.