Initial Coverage Election Period

By Kendra Knouff
eMedicareSupplements Senior Writer

The Initial Coverage Election Period Happens Only Once Per Person

The Initial Coverage Election Period (ICEP) pertaining to Medicare Advantage plans happens once per lifetime per individual, and it takes place when you first have the chance to join a Medicare Advantage (MA) plan. The ICEP usually occurs when you become 65 years old and initially begin the enrollment process for Medicare parts A and B.

This election period begins three months before becoming eligible for Medicare parts A and B and ends on the latter of two possible occasions: the last day of the month prior to becoming eligible for parts A and B, or the last day of your initial enrollment period for Medicare Part B (your Part B enrollment is a seven-month period that includes the month you become eligible, as well as three months before and three months after that month).

ICEP enrollment election will often be tied to your 65th birthday or the 25th month of receiving cash benefits for a disability, but eligibility for enrollment is always linked to one’s enrollment eligibility for Medicare parts A and B.

The Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) for a Medicare Advantage Part D (MA-PD) plan for prescription drug coverage is the same as the seven-month enrollment period for Medicare Part B.

Choosing to enroll in an MA-PD plan utilizes both the Initial Coverage Election Period for Medicare Advantage and the Initial Enrolment Period for a Part D Plan. During this period, individuals may choose one Medicare Advantage plan with Part D coverage. Those eligible for Medicare before age 65, such as those receiving disability benefits, will have another initial enrollment period for Part D insurance after becoming 65 years old.

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