Medicare and Skilled Care


According to the 2020 U.S Census, people aged 65 and over comprise 16.8% of the country’s population.

70% of people currently age 65 or older will need some kind of long-term care, according to the federal government.

However, there are only 1.7 million nursing home beds in 15,600 facilities, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Medicare is a form of health insurance, it’s not meant to cover housing and food costs or long-term stays in a nursing facility. Medicare may pay 100% for the first 20 days for people who need skilled nursing care and 80% for up to 80 days. This includes medical care, physical and occupational therapy and other services. Medicare will cover a maximum of 100 days of skilled nursing care.

Skilled nursing provides complex care and rehabilitation for people who have had a stroke, surgery or extensive treatment for kidney, heart or respiratory conditions and may need rehabilitation after their release from a hospital stay.

Qualifying Criteria

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Medicare does pay for skilled nursing care only for individuals who qualify though. According to, you may qualify for Medicare part A (hospital insurance) coverage for skilled nursing care if a physician determines you need daily skilled nursing care; you’ve had a hospital stay of at least three days (not including the day you leave the hospital); you need skilled nursing services for a hospital-related medical condition.

A facility that offers skilled nursing care may offer medically-necessary care by a qualified licensed medical personnel. This could include intravenous injections, wound care and catheter care and rehabilitation services, including physical, occupational and speech therapy.

Skilled nursing care are necessary for stroke patients or a traumatic brain injury. These services are also needed for patients who’ve undergone surgery.

Long-term care is often provided by nursing homes. Nursing homes must provide residents with 24 hour care for pre-existing conditions such as stroke or dementia. People who have conditions that compromise the activities of daily living.