The federal program providing hospital and medical insurance for people aged 65 and older, some disabled persons, and those with end-stage renal disease. Medicare provides only very limited benefits for care in a skilled nursing facility and only if such care is necessary following a hospital stay of at least three days. In such cases, Medicare will pay in full for up to 20 days of skilled nursing care, and requires a copayment for days 21 through 100. No Medicare benefits are payable for skilled nursing care beyond the 100th day. In addition, once your doctor indicates that you no longer need skilled nursing care, these Medicare benefits stop, even if you are unable to return home and/or live independently and even if you have not yet received the full 100 days of skilled nursing care.