Medicare Basics

Are you turning 65 in the next three months? What do you need to know beforehand?

Client Centered

Do you Need to Enroll in Medicare A and B?  Can you delay Enrollment?  And if you do delay, will you be penalized later?     

In this short video, we answer these questions and cover who needs to enroll in Medicare A and Medicare B as well as who does not need to enroll at age 65. 

Click the link below for a short 6-minute video:

NOTE: If you are several months away from your initial enrollment or you are turning 65 in more than 7 months, please click the button below to cover questions such as:

  • When can I enroll in Medicare?
  • What are the costs for Medicare A and B and other options?
  • How can your office help me pick a plan? 

Already watched the video? Great! Now you are ready to enroll in Medicare!

To learn our 4-step process on when and how to enroll in Medicare, click the button below:

These are the other things that you need to know...

Medicare is the US government's health insurance for US citizens over age 65 and those that are disabled under 65 after being on SS disability for 2 years.  US Citizens pay Medicare taxes their working lifetime and qualify for "Free" or $0 premium Part A (hospital services) if they pay into the system for 40 quarters; spouses can qualify through their working spouse. 

Medicare Part B (outpatient services), while partially subsidized by taxes, does have a premium.  Premiums vary based on your income at the time you enroll in Medicare, but can be changed if your income goes up or down.

Depending on your income at the time you enroll in Medicare, you can either pay the STANDARD premium for Medicare B or a higher amount, referred to as IRMA - Income Related Monthly Adjustments.  For a list of income levels and premiums, refer to chart in "2023 Medicare B and D premiums" document. The standard Part B premium for 2024 is $174.70, an increase of $9.80 from the 2023 Part B premium of $164.90.  The ‘look back’ is 2 years prior to when you enroll in Medicare. So for 2024 enrollment, the government will look at your 2022 income to calculate your Medicare premiums.  (NOTE: You could pay more for Medicare Part C or D as well if you your income exceeds certain limits.)

For a list of premiums for B and D based on income, Feel free to download this document:  2024 Medicare B and D premiums  

NOTE:  Video references for IRMA are from 2020; for current numbers, download the 2024 document. 

IMPORTANT NOTE:   If you have a low income or qualify for Medicaid, you should call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 and ask about EXTRA HELP.  You may qualify for help in paying your Medicare premiums.

Both Medicare A and B are obtained through the Social Security office.  Medicare Part C and Part D are purchased through a broker or can be done by going direct to the insurance company that provides these benefits. 

Medicare Supplements are offered by insurance companies and are NOT a Medicare program, but are additional coverage to help pick up where Medicare leaves off.  

NOTE:  You must be enrolled in both Medicare A and B to enroll in a Supplement and Medicare Part D drug coverage.  If you enroll in a Medicare Advantage Part C plan, you must maintain your enrollment in both Medicare A and Medicare B. 

NOTE:  You cannot be enrolled in Medicare C and Medicare D - you can choose one or the other for your drug coverage. 

Most people that enroll in a Part D (stand-alone drug card) also purchase a Medicare Supplement to help pay the costs not covered by Medicare, including deductibles for hospitalization, outpatient services, and 20% coinsurance that is not capped.


Our first priority is helping you find the BEST Medicare plans that suits your needs and budget.   While our office is licensed with most of the Major A-rating insurance carriers in IL, we do not offer every plan in the state of Illinois.  See list below.  To see the entire list of carriers in IL, you can visit or call 1-800-Medicare, or your local State Health Insurance Program (SHIP) to get information on all your options. 

In most areas of Illinois, there are 19 PDP plans; our office is licensed to sell 18 out of 19 PDP RX plans. There is only one company (Clear Spring Health has a new PDP for 2024) that we do not represent.

For MAPD plans, there are around 51 plans depending on what county you live in.  Our office is certified to sell 43 out of 51 MAPD plans; CB Health Insurance represents Aetna, BCBS of IL (HCSC), Cigna, Humana, UnitedHealthcare/AARP, and WellCare/Centene.  We do not currently represent Molina Health (1 HMO only in certain counties), Zing (2 HMO plans), Devoted (2 HMO and 1 PPO).  Clear Spring Health (2 HMO plans).