Phase 3

Ready to Sign Up for Medicare

Step 7: Setting up your My Social Security Account

The easiest way to sign up for Medicare requires that you have a My Social Security Account first. Here’s how to get one. 

Step 1: Have necessary information on hand.
You will be asked questions about yourself to verify your identity.
You will also need to have your phone nearby and access to your email account. You will be sent codes to your phone via text and your email at various times, so having access to both will help make the process easier. 

Step 2: Go to
We recommend completing this on a computer, not your phone. From your computer, open an internet browser (we recommend Chrome) and go to

Once there, click on the Sign In button in the upper right corner of the page.

Step 3: Create an account

There will be a Create an account button in blue text below the two big bright buttons. Click Create an account.

Step 4:

You will be directed to the site where you will need to click on the Create an account button. 

This will take you to a new page where you will enter:

  1. Your preferred email address.
    *** Please note that you must use a personal email address that you can access.***
    You should not use the same email address as your spouse. 
  2. Click on your preferred language

Once you have provided those details, you will need to click the box that states: “I read and accept the Rules of Use.”

Now, click the blue Submit button

Step 5: Confirm your email address

You will be sent a message to the email address you used in Step 4. The email will come from, and in that email, you will need to confirm your email address by clicking the button in this email message. 

You will be directed back to the website once you click this button. On this new page, you will be asked to create a password. 

Step 6: Create a password

Passwords have specific criteria in order to be approved. 

Passwords must be 12 characters long and there is a Password Strength indicator along the bottom of the box where you will enter your password. 

You won’t be able to advance until that password strength indicator is green. 

Here are some things that increase the strength of your password:

  • 12 characters long
  • At least 1 capital letter and 1 lowercase letter
  • At least 1 number
  • At least 1 special character

Once you have a password that matches the criteria, click the Continue button. 

Step 7: Authentication setup

The next screen will be several different authentication options designed to make your account more secure. 

We generally recommend the Text or Voice Message option because it is the most convenient. If you prefer a different method, you are free to choose. For the upcoming steps, we will be assuming the Text or Voice Message option was chosen. 

Once you have made your selection, push the Continue button. 

Step 8: Enter your phone number

If you chose the Text or Voice Message option, you will be sent to a screen where you will put in your phone number and you will indicate whether you want to receive a code via text message or a phone call. 

Once you pick your preferred method of communication, click the Send code button. 

You will be sent a code through the communication method you chose and you will enter that code on the next screen. Please note that this code does expire after 10 minutes, so be sure to enter the code when you receive it. 

Once you have entered the code, click the Submit button.

Step 9: Agree and continue

You have successfully set up a account, but that does not mean you are finished. 

Click the Agree and continue button to go back to and complete the My SSA Account process. 

Step 10: Social Security Terms of Service

Now that you have your account, you are in the Social Security Administration portal. 

You will see a screen that has the Terms of Service for using this website. You must click the box that says, “I agree to the Terms of Service.” 

Once you have checked that box, click the Next button. 

Step 11: Personal information

In this step, you will enter your personal information into the Social Security site. 

Things like:

  • Your first name, middle initial, and last name.
  • Your social security number.
  • Your Date of Birth.
  • Your Home Address.
  • Your Phone Number (yes, you enter this again). 

Step 12: Extra Security

Believe it or not, you will be asked if you want to add even more security. This is to prove that you are who you say you are. 

Many of our clients select, No thanks, but you are free to choose to verify yourself even more. 

Once you have made your selection, click Next.

Step 13: Get your activation code

One of our final steps is to receive ANOTHER activation code. You can choose to have this sent via text message or phone call to the number you put as your phone number. 

Click Next.

You will receive your activation code.
Enter the activation code into the box designated for that code and click Submit Activation Code.

You did it! Almost… 

I know, this process doesn’t seem to end, but you are almost there. 

Step 14: More Terms of Service

There is a box with Tips for protecting your identity. You can read that if you’d like. Most choose to just push the Next button. 

You will now have another set of Terms of Service to which you need to agree. 

Check the I agree to the Terms of Service box and then press Next and you are in your My Social Security account portal.

Final Note

Be sure to save your email and password combination you used for this account. Keep these safe and accessible. You will need to put in your email and password each time you want to log in IN ADDITION TO a code being sent to your phone each and every time you try to log in. 

Alright, let’s move on to see how to sign up for Medicare.

Step 8: Signing up for Original Medicare

You have options, depending on what you want to accomplish: Medicare Part A only, Medicare Part B only, or Medicare Parts A and B. 

Medicare Part A or Medicare Parts A & B

For those ready to make the full leap into Medicare all at the same time, this is the path for you. Or, if you would like to sign up for Part A only, you will follow the same steps until Step 12.

To sign up for both Part A and Part B, here are the steps:

Step 1: Go to
Got to the Social Security Administration website –

Step 2: Sign up for Medicare

Once you are on the website, there is a button under the big word “Apply” that says, “Sign up for Medicare. Go ahead and click the Sign up for Medicare button. 

Step 3: Information you’ll need & Starting an Application
This page will have a section labeled “Information you’ll need to provide.” By clicking the “+” button, you’ll see the type of information to have handy as you work your way through the Medicare application. 

Once you have that information available and you are ready, click the blue “Start application” button. 

Step 4: Terms of Service
This screen will have the terms of service for using and applying for Medicare on the website.
Click the box that says, “I understand and agree to the above statement.”

Then click, “Next.”

Step 5: Start a New Application
Under the section labeled “Apply & Complete” you’ll want to click on the “Start a New Application” button. 

On the next screen, you’ll be asked “Who Is Completing This Application?”
Mark the appropriate answer and a new question will pop up asking if you have a My Social Security account.

Since you completed Step 7 here on this site, you should have your My Social Security account information. If you have not created a My Social Security account, be sure to go back and complete Step 7 on this site. 

Once you have Step 7 complete with your My Social Security account, click “Next” on the Social Security website. 

Step 6: Sign in with your My Social Security account

You will be prompted to sign in to your My Social Security account.
If you set up your My Social Security account AFTER September 18, 2021, you will use the Blue “Sign in with LOGIN.GOV” button. 

If you set up your My Social Security account BEFORE September 18, 2021, you would use a username and password. 

Remember that you will have two-factor authentication to sign into your My Social Security account. This means that you will be sent a code via text message or phone call that you will need to put into the website when promoted. 

Step 7: Information About Applicant

Once you have successfully logged into your My Social Security account, you can begin the application. The first section will ask for your information. Things like your name, social security number, date of birth, gender, and other questions. 

Step 8: Contact Information
The next section of the application will ask about your contact information and your language preferences. Fill out each section, remember not to skip any questions. 

Step 9: Birth and Citizenship Information

The next section will ask questions about your place of birth and whether or not you are a U.S. citizen. 

Step 10: Medicare Information

This screen is important and often causes questions. 

The question is phrased, “Do you wish to apply for Medicare ONLY, but not for monthly retirement cash benefits?” 

What it is really asking is, “Do you want to apply for Medicare ONLY, or for both Medicare and Social Security benefits. 

If you are applying for Medicare only, click “Yes.” 

If you want to apply for both Medicare and Social Security benefits, click, “No.” 

We will assume you are just enrolling in Medicare moving forward. 

Step 11: Re-entry Number

At this point, you will be given a re-entry number. If you don’t finish your application right now, you can step away and log back into this point of the application using the re-entry number. Make sure you right this number down and keep it available. 

Step 12: Coverage
The next screen will ask, “Do you want to enroll in Medicare Part B?” 

If you would like to sign up for both Medicare Part A and Part B, select, “Yes.”

If you would like to sign up for Medicare Part A only, select, “No.”

The next question on this page asks, “Are you receiving Medicaid?”
Medicaid is a different program for those with low income.
If you are receiving Medicaid, click, “Yes.”
If you are not receiving Medicaid, click, “No.”

The next question will ask if you are covered under a Group Health Plan?
If you have coverage through a company, whether a company you work for or a company your spouse works for, you will select, “Yes.”

If you are not covered by group health insurance, click, “No.”

It is important to note that COBRA does NOT count as a group health plan. 

Step 13: Remarks

In the remarks section, you have the ability to indicate when you want your Medicare coverage to start. You will want to put the start date as the first day of the month when you would like Medicare to begin. 

You can only request a date as far out as 90 days in the future or as little as the next month ahead of the present. 

Step 14: Review Information

You will see a page where you can review your application information. Look this over one last time to make sure everything is correct, otherwise, you could see delays in your application. 

Once you feel comfortable with your information, click the box stating, “I agree with the Electronic Signature Agreement above.”

Then click, “Submit Now.”

You Did It!

You have successfully applied for Medicare. We would recommend that you print your application receipt. 

Keep a close eye out for your Medicare Card to arrive in the mail. It typically takes 4-6 weeks to arrive and will come from the Department of Health and Human Services. 

You can also log into your My Social Security account to check the status of your application and find your Medicare number before your card arrives. 

Medicare Part B Only

Most often, people signing up for Part B only are those who, at some earlier date, signed up for Part A only – usually for reasons mentioned in the Part A only section. At this point, those individuals are losing their employer coverage for medical insurance and are ready to begin Medicare Part B coverage. 

The process is a bit different than signing up for Part A only or both Part A and Part B.

To sign up for Part B only, here are the steps:

Step 1: Go to
Got to the Social Security Administration website –

Step 2: Sign up for Medicare

Once you are on the website, there is a button under the big word “Apply” that says, “Sign up for Medicare. Go ahead and click the Sign up for Medicare button. 

Step 3: Information you’ll need & Starting an Application
This page will have a section labeled “Information you’ll need to provide.” By clicking the “+” button, you’ll see the type of information to have handy as you work your way through the Medicare application. 

Once you have that information available and you are ready, click the sentence that says, “If you are already enrolled in Medicare Part A, sign up for Part B only.” 

Step 4: Application for Enrollment in Medicare – Part B

You will need to fill out the CMS-40B form. This is your Application for Medicare Part B only. 

You can download this form here: CMS-40B 

Note that you should state, “I want Part B coverage to begin (MM/YY)” in the remarks section of the CMS-40B form or online application. 

Step 5: Request for Employment Information
If you are applying for Medicare Part B due to a loss of employment or group health coverage, you will also need to have your Employer complete the CMS-L564 form, which is a Request for Employment Information. 

This form MUST be filled out by your employer, NOT by you. 

You can download this form here: CMS-L564

Step 6: Submitting your enrollment request

If you have both the CMS-40B form AND the CMS-L564 forms saved as electronic files (PDFs), you can continue the application for Part B online. 

If you have physical copies of these forms, but not digital copies, you can fax your mail your CMS-40B, CMS-L564, and your secondary evidence to your local Social Security office. 

Secondary evidence refers to 1 form of evidence from this list:

  • Income tax form that shows health insurance premiums paid.
  • W-2s reflecting pre-tax medical contributions.
  • Pay stubs that reflect health insurance premium deductions.
  • Health insurance cards with a policy effective date. 
  • Explanations of benefits paid by the group health plan or large group health plan. 
  • Statements or receipts that reflect payment of health insurance premiums.

Once you have completed this process, you will receive a Welcome to Medicare packet in the mail with your Medicare Card. 

There are hangups and hiccups that happen during this process, which is why we always recommend starting 90 days before you need Medicare to begin. Once you finish this process, things start getting much easier. 

Let’s move on to Step 9 on Your Steps to Medicare.

Step 9: Medicare Advantage vs Medicare Supplement

The biggest debate in the Medicare world… Advantage or Supplement? Let’s go through the pros and cons of each. 

Medicare Advantage Plans


Medicare Advantage plans replace your Government-sponsored coverage. This means that the private insurance companies who offer Medicare Advantage plans take on all the risk and claims for your hospital and medical coverage. The government pays the insurance company a monthly amount to subsidize these costs.

You will have one insurance card provided by the insurance company and you will not use your red, white, and blue Medicare card that you received from Health & Human Services (HHS).

Do not throw your Medicare card away! You just won’t need to take it to healthcare appointments or services. 


Advantage plans have low premiums – some as low as $0.

Drug Coverage
Advantage plans typically include prescription drug coverage.

Other Services 
Advantage plans often come with additional services like dental, vision, & hearing as well as gym memberships and other perks.


Cost Sharing
You will have higher cost sharing with Advantage plans than with Supplement plans, meaning you will have copays and coinsurance that you wouldn’t have with Supplement plans.

Advantage plans have specific provider networks connected with the company or carrier you choose to use. These networks are often strong in certain geographic areas but may be weak in others.

All Benefits Through Carrier
All Advantage plan benefits are subject to the carrier’s rules, exclusions, and processes that will typically be less inclusive than a Supplement plan.

Supplement Plans (Medigap)


Supplement plans pay secondary to traditional Medicare. This means that Medicare picks up the first 80% of Medicare-eligible costs and then the Supplement plan covers the remaining 20%.

You will use your red, white, and blue Medicare card provided to you by Health & Human Services (HHS). You will also carry an additional card provided to you by the insurance company you choose for your Supplement plan.


Cost Sharing 
The most popular Supplement plan (Plan G) has a $240 annual deductible in 2024. Once that is met, you have zero cost sharing responsibility for Medicare-approved medical expenses.

With a Supplement plan, you are not limited by a network. You will be covered when visiting any provider who participates in Medicare, anywhere in the country.

Secondary to Medicare 
Since Supplement plans are secondary to Medicare, coverage policies, exclusions, and procedures align exactly with Medicare. We have heard many providers comment on their preference in working with Supplement plans over Advantage plans.


Premiums are age-based, meaning the older your are, the more expensive. Premiums start around $110 per month and go up depending on the carrier you choose and your age.

Drug Coverage 
Part D prescription drug coverage is not included with Supplement plans. You would need to purchase a Part D drug plan separately. 

Other Services 
Supplement plans do not come with the same additional services as Advantage plans. Bells and whistles like dental, vision, and hearing benefits will not be included with Supplement plans. You can purchase these plans separately.

Step 10: Medicare Part D: Prescription Drug Coverage

Prescription Drug Coverage under Medicare Part D gets complicated. Let’s break it down.

Four Phases of Part D Coverage


Phase 1 : The Deductible Phase
The first phase of any Part D plan is the deductible phase. Deductible dollar amounts will vary based on the plan you choose – the maximum being $545 in 2024.

You are responsible for your full deductible amount before your Part D plan starts assisting with any prescription drug costs.

Phase 2 : Initial Coverage
Once you have met your deductible, you enter the initial coverage phase. While here, you will have copays that are specific to your plan coverage.

You remain in the Initial Coverage Phase until the total cost of your deductible, your copays, and the money your Part D plan has contributed add up to $5,030 (2024).

Phase 3 : Coverage Gap aka The Donut Hole
The coverage gap is the most notorious phase of Part D coverage because everything changes once you reach the donut hole.

While in this phase, you are responsible for 25% of the drug cost.

In Phase 2, your deductible, copays, and the amount the insurance paid all contributed to your $5,030 level to move out of that phase. To get out of the Coverage Gap, only your payments and a discount amount from drug manufacturers (usually 50% of the drug cost) count toward your totals.

Once the amount you’ve paid (deductible, copays, coinsurance) and the manufacturer discounts add up to $8,000 (2024), you can move into the last phase of drug coverage.

Phase 4 : Catastrophic Coverage
Once you enter the catastrophic coverage phase, you no longer have any cost responsibility outside your monthly premium to have the plan.

This arrangement continues until January 1st of the next year when everything resets and you go back to Phase 1: The Deductible Phase.

Step 11: Dental, Vision, Hearing, and Other Plans

Medicare does not cover dental, vision, hearing, and many other areas of healthcare. Fortunately, there are options for you to get this coverage. 

Advantage Plan Options

Most Medicare Advantage plans come with varying levels of coverage for dental, vision, and hearing benefits. The Advantage plan includes these benefits in the $0 or low premiums, and there are often options to buy up for more coverage in these areas. 

Standalone Plans
For those who go the Original Medicare with a Supplement plan route, there are standalone dental, vision, and hearing aid plans available to purchase separately. These plans will each come with their own monthly premiums and varying levels of coverage. 

Long Term Care
Long term care is separate from these other costs due to the catastrophic nature of this care from a financial perspective. Medicare does not touch long term care costs. Neither Advantage plans nor Supplement plans cover long term care expenses. 

There are long term care insurance plans available to help cover the major costs of long term care, whether in a long term care facility like a nursing home, Alzheimer’s or Dementia facility, or within the home.