People just turning 65 or those who are over 65 but have been working and are now ready to retire most often have many questions and concerns about Medicare. You need to be aware that certain steps must be taken when signing up for Medicare to avoid any Medicare penalties. Most folks are skeptical of Medicare and think their old health insurance is better. Not true, if you package Medicare together with the correct supplement plan and Part D drug plan you have great insurance coverage.

Medicare enrolled Health Care Providers

First: You must enroll in Medicare part A and B, you can usually do this online by going to Social Security. Gov. However, if you already have part A and just need to enroll for part B, you will need additional forms and may need to visit the social security office in person. Each situation can be different.

Next find a qualified independent advisor to assist you in this process and help with finding the best Medicare supplement and Part D drug plan that works for you.

How does Medicare work?
It is different from your traditional health insurance because it comes in parts.

Part A is essentially hospital insurance, covering all the basics like inpatient hospital care, skilled nursing facility, home health care and hospice care. In most cases, you don't have to pay the monthly premium to be covered under Medicare Part A. Americans who have worked a total of at least 10 years and paid into Medicare during that time qualify for free care. If you don't meet this minimum guideline, you'll be required to pay a premium for Medicare Part A. Part A, however, will not cover your hospital costs in full. Before the benefits kick in, you'll have to first meet a deductible. After that, Medicare Part A pays 100% of the costs for 60 hospital days or 20 skilled nursing facility days.

Part B is not free. This Part is insurance for medical expenses you incur that aren't hospital related. For example, blood tests, diabetic supplies, Physicians, and outpatient hospital care. Part B has a monthly cost and is deducted from your social security payments. Most beneficiaries will also have to contribute payments toward their healthcare costs. Once you pay the annual deductible, you'll be responsible for 20 percent of healthcare bills.

Part C refers to a Medicare Advantage plan. This is where your Medicare benefits are transferred to a third party insurance company.

Part D is the prescription drug plan. It helps cover the cost of prescription drugs. You can choose from a variety of plans, with varying deductibles, copays and monthly premiums. Each plan may also use a different formula or list of prescription drugs that they cover. It is important to review your list of medications and compare against the plan's formulary prior to purchasing coverage. You can go to and find a list of the plans available in your area.

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