Sometimes it seems that Medicare is difficult to understand on purpose. There are so many rules and intricate details surrounding one's medicare that it can be challenging to know what you need to do to make sure you are covered. For that reason, there are Medicare agents who are there to help. They can give you information that you will also find in this article. 

There are three main sections of original medicare: Part A, Part B, and Part D.

Part A is the insurance that will cover you should you need hospitalization. The monthly premium (the amount that you are required to pay upfront every month to ensure that you have coverage) varies based on an individual's work experience. If someone has worked at least 40 quarters or 10 years, they have already paid their premium for Part A, because it was taken out of their paycheck. If you fall into the category of people who have not worked for that amount of time, there will be a monthly premium when you sign up for Part A.

Part B is the insurance that will cover your doctor visits and outpatient surgeries, as well as other things. Part B has a monthly premium for everyone, unless you fall under the federal poverty line. Should that be the case for you, there are programs which you can apply for that will pay your monthly premium for you. The premium for Part B changes every year. For 2019 the monthly premium is $135.50. If you or you and your spouse together have made over a certain amount you will be required to pay a higher premium.

Part D insurance covers your prescription medications. Each Part D plan is unique, covering different medication at different prices. has a tool to help you find what drug plans will cover your medications.

The penalties that some people incur for any part of original medicare come about when an individual fails to sign up for medicare when they turn the age to do so. If you are turning 65, you have a seven-month window to sign up in most cases: Three months before your birthday month, the month of your birthday, and three months after your birthday month. Important note: If you or your spouse is employed and you are covered by insurance, you will not be penalized. This goes for Part B as well. If you could have signed up but didn't, you will be penalized, but if you have coverage and didn't need medicare you are in the clear.

The penalty for Part A is not horrible. It is 10% of your monthly premium for twice the number of years that you could have been enrolled in Part A. This is a tender mercy of the government because the penalty ends after a relatively short time.

The Part B penalty can be quite steep. The government will charge you 10% of your monthly premium for each year that you did not sign up, and this penalty never goes away. If you want coverage you will have to pay that amount until you do not need medicare anymore.

Be smart about Medicare. Do your homework and get the help you need to sign up on time!