Medicare enrollment begins Saturday and seniors have until Dec. 7 to sign up.

The sign-up period begins earlier this year and last longer - seven weeks.

The federal taxpayer funded program to provide medical care to those 65 and older (or disabled) still has four parts - A through D, with D being the prescription drug program.

People with Medicare can begin reviewing the 2012 quality ratings for Medicare Advantage health plans (Part C) and prescription drug plans (Part D).

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid are enhancing a system to highlight Medicare plans that achieve an overall quality rating of 5 stars with a "gold star" icon. CMS says people with Medicare can switch to an available 5-star plan at any time during the year. Medicare will give $3 billion to $4 billion in bonuses in 2013 to 5-star insurers while cuts in funding occur elsewhere in the system. The hope is that this will create incentive to improve health outcomes for patients while lowering overall costs.

The plans can be viewed here and there is an online calculator to help beneficiaries find plans that work best for them.