The most frequent question we get is: “What steps do I need to complete in order to get my Medicare coverage into effect?”

Here is a checklist of WHAT you need to do and WHEN you need to do it!

If you want to be really knowledgeable about Medicare:

  1. Read this website – This website will provide nearly everything you need to know in a short, concise, easy to understand format. Our goal: To Make Medicare Easy and Understandable…Almost Fun!
  2. Read Medicare and You – This is the official 120-page Government document that provides a more comprehensive explanation of Medicare and all your options.
  3. Attend a HICAP “New to Medicare” Educational meeting – HICAP (Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program) is a non-profit organization that provides free and objective information about Medicare. If you want to get straight answers to all your questions, attend a HICAP meeting.

Sign up for Medicare Part B 

Three months prior to your “birth month”—the month you turn 65—you can sign up for Medicare Part B. Most people who have contributed to the Social Security system for at least 40 quarters will get Medicare Part A (Hospital Coverage) at no cost. Everyone needs to pay for Medicare Part B (around $148.50/month); this will be higher for people with larger incomes.

If you are currently receiving Social Security Benefits, you will be automatically enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part B and will receive your red, white and blue Medicare card in the mail around 3 months prior to your birth month. When you receive your Medicare card, this will be a reminder to call for an appointment with Hopper Insurance Services.

If you are NOT currently receiving Social Security Benefits, you will need to apply for Medicare Part B.

There are SEVERAL ways to enroll in Medicare Part B

  1. Enroll online

The quickest and easiest way to enroll in Medicare Part B is by using the Medicare website:

  • Log on to the Medicare website:
  • Scroll down to section titled: “Resources
  • Click on “Apply for Medicare.”
  • Scroll down through the text to a blue box that says “Apply for Medicare Only.
  • Click on “I Understand and Agree” box and click “Next”
  • On next screen, in the section titled “Apply & Complete,” click on “Start a new application.”
  • Answer a few questions
  • Set up Username and Password and you are on your way.
  • Done!  You will receive a card in 3-6 weeks.
  1. Go directly to the Social Security office (Not available during Covid Pandemic)
  • The Social Security office is open from 9 am to 4 pm; the office closes at 12 on Wednesday.
  • The least busy days are Thursday and Friday; the least busy times are 3-4 pm.
  • If you don’t want to make an appointment, arrive at the Social Security office between 3 and 4 pm. They will lock the doors at 4 pm and help all the people who are in the office at that time.
  1. Enroll in Medicare Part B by calling Social Security Office 
  • If you do not like to do an online enrollment on your computer, you can call the local Santa Barbara Social Security Office at 1-866-695-6285 to enroll by phone
  • NOTE: Medicare is administered by Social Security.

NOTE: If you are on an employer sponsored group health plan and are past age 65, you will need a form completed by your employer verifying group coverage. Call Social Security and request forms to complete.

After you apply for Medicare Part B, or when you receive your Medicare card, call Hopper Insurance Services for an appointment at (805) 966-4900.

At that appointment we will:

  • Educate you on the underlying Medicare coverage
  • Educate you on the Medicare prescriptions drug plans, known as Medicare Part D
  • Help you find the best plan that meets your needs and budget.
    • We represent the top two insurance companies in California
      • Anthem Blue Cross
      • Blue Shield of California
  • Help you find the best prescription drug plan for your specific medications
  • Handle all the paperwork to make your task easy and simple


  • Be sure to have a check book handy to enroll in auto pay of your premiums. We recommend auto pay to all our clients. If you get cancelled for non-payment, there is no guarantee you can get that plan again.  You will be required to answer “medical questions,” and if you have a pre-existing condition, you can be declined for coverage.

A Trusted Advisor

You have a trusted advisor in Hopper Insurance Services. We are here to help you now and in the future with all of your health insurance needs. Simply call and we can usually solve problems right on the spot.

Periodic updates

Each year there is an annual open enrollment for prescription drug benefit plans. As our client, we will alert you to be ready for that October 15th to December 7th period – the only time to change prescription plans!

Additionally, we provide periodic updates for our clients, via email, as we learn about important changes in health insurance, which happens all too often.

Plan review

We are always available to help you review your insurance plans to ensure you have the best value and most appropriate coverage, including supplemental insurance for Medicare, for your situation at all times.