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What are lifetime reserve days in a Medicare insurance policy?

Typically, Medicare insurance covers:

  • Up to 90 days of inpatient hospital services in each benefit period
  • An additional 60 lifetime reserve days
A benefit period begins when you are admitted to the hospital and ends when you have been out of the hospital for 60 days, or have not received Medicare-covered care in a skilled nursing facility (SNF) or hospital for 60 consecutive days from your day of discharge.

If you continue to be hospitalized past 90 days, Medicare provides 60 lifetime reserve days of inpatient hospital coverage. These lifetime reserve days can only be used once — if you use them, Medicare will not renew them.

If someone has been hospitalized past 90 days, the healthcare facility must notify the patient (or family) in writing that they are planning to 'tap into' the lifetime reserve days.  

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.