Home » Medicare Advantage Enrollment Periods: ICEP (Initial Coverage Election Period)

Medicare Advantage Enrollment Periods: ICEP (Initial Coverage Election Period)

Medicare is the federal health assurance program for individuals older than 65 or for an individual with acute renal disease or a young person with specific disabilities.  your Initial Coverage Election Period is your first opportunity if you are planning to enroll in a Medical Insurance Advantage plan. Read about the Initial Coverage Election Period, the time when you are first eligible to join the federal health assurance benefit plan.

What are IEP and ICEP?

Both the Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) and Initial Coverage Election Period are one-time Medicare membership sessions.  For the majority of the people, both these sessions fall at the same time.

The IEP is a seven-month term that starts three months before the session, and you become eligible for Parts A and B of the federal health cover plan. Your eligibility opens the window to join in the Original Federal Health Insurance Plan, consisting of sections A and B under the supervision of the US Government.

The ICEP is when you become first entitled to a Medicare Advantage Plan. Contrary to IEP, the ICEP opens the eligibility door for newly qualified people for medical schemes to join in the federal health protection benefit (Part C) plan.

The federal health cover benefits scheme is alternatively known as Medicare Part C.  It is another mechanism to get the original benefits with the help of a private assurance company.

Instead of your Original Medicare scope proposal, you can use the federal health insurance benefit schemes from private assurance companies. It will allow you to enjoy the eligibility of the same healthcare exposure equal to the original federal health coverage benefits scheme. Many people opt for private assurance companies’ federal health cover benefit proposals because it comes with bundles of additional benefits, including wellness benefits and eligibility for prescription drug coverage.

When does the Initial Coverage Election Period start?

It depends on the when you join Part A and B of the Medicare Advantage Plan. Generally, IEP starts at the same time as the initial admission session. If you participate in Part A and B during the IEP, your initial coverage election session will be the same as the IEP.  To make it simplified, the IEP is the seven-month time that begins three months before you become eligible for Parts A and B of the Medical Advantage Plan.  When the beneficiaries turn 65, they automatically fall under the eligibility ambit for the federal health benefit scheme.

How Long are the IEP and ICEP?

The IEP shall have a span of seven months, which will start three months before the 65th birthday. During the IEP, if you opt for Part A and B, then the ICEP will also start along with the IEP, and thus you will have the eligibility to enjoy the federal health care coverage scheme.

We can find that some people do not register for Part B while they are on IEP.  It could be mainly due to the probability of having a health cover scheme they have with their spouse’s group health scheme provided by their employer.

In case if you register for Part B on a later date other than during the IEP, the ICEP will start three months before the Part B protection is supposed to start. The ICEP will be effective until the end of the month before the Part B protection starts. 

The initial enlistment session is one among the federal health cover registration session. It allows the beneficiaries to enroll for Part B and D as soon as they become 65 years old.  The IEP will begin three months prior to the beneficiary’s 65th birthday and the rolling month will be inclusive of your birthday month and cease three months after the beneficiary become 65.

The following example can illustrate the calculation clearly.  

Suppose the beneficiary’s birthday is on 15th June; between 1st March and 30th September, the beneficiary can enroll for Medical Advantage Plan. 

Initial Enrollment Period 2 (IEP2)

The IEP2 runs for seven months as that of IEP. Those eligible beneficiaries can get Part A and B facilities before they reach 65 years old.  Beneficiaries can enroll for a medical insurance benefit or Part D Plan during the Initial Enrollment Period 2 (IEP2).

Special Enrollment Period (SEP)

Out of all the available registration session schemes, it is the most confusing medical plan admission proposal. The scheme SEP allows the beneficiary to make deviations in the Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug protection when unexpected events happen in life.  It can be anything like facing disqualification from getting other protection coverage, excluding the spouse’s employer assurance, etc. 

A situation where a beneficiary cannot get indemnification, protection can be due to the non-covering of health insurance through the beneficiary or the spouse’s employer assurance.

Under SEP, a qualified person can get 60 days after the unfortunate events in life to get registered for the coverage. In SEP, the beneficiary can change from employer coverage to register for the medical care scheme. The terms that allow doing the changes and the category of changes vary according to the SEP.

How do I qualify for an ICEP?

To qualify for an ICEP and also to have a medical care benefits proposal, you must have section A and B assurance protection. Besides, your Permanent Residence (PR) must indicate the service area of the selected federal health protection benefits scheme. 

You cannot register in a federal health protection benefits scheme if you don’t join in Part B during the IEP.  During the three-month ICEP window, you can enroll for the Medical Advantage plan if you register in section B. 

You can opt and sign up for prescription drug assurance protection during the ICEP.

When you are 65 years of age and sign up for Part B, there is no difference between your ICEP and IEP.  Your initial coverage election span will be the same as that of your IEP.  But the status will change if you enroll later. In that case, your initial coverage election will be three times ahead of your section B insurance protection to become effective.

  • You can enroll for a Medicare Advantage Plan or Prescription Plan if you become eligible for the medical program because you have turned 65.
  • You can sign up for an Advantage Proposal or Medicare Drug Proposal because of a disability during the coverage validity. The program protection benefits will take effect from 24 months after the SS or RRB disability benefits.
  • If you are 65 years old and already eligible for a Medical Insurance Plan, you can enroll in a prescription drug program or a federal health guarantee benefit program.
  • It is possible to change from the current Medicare Advantage Plan or Prescription Drug Plan to any other proposal.
  • In addition to all the above, you can relinquish a federal health cover benefits scheme or Prescription Drug Plan altogether. After signing up for the scheme, you can exit from a Medicare Advantage Plan and return to the Original Medical Care Proposal.

When else can I enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan?

If you experience a critical situation in life that may be a reason for a severe life-changing impact on your health coverage, then the federal health cover benefits scheme may grant a Special Election Period (SEP). The laid down condition to consider the span of the SEP rest on the actual situations, including relocation to Medicare Advantage Plan’s service area, or becoming disqualified for Medicaid, or leaving a professional nursing facility. 

General Enrollment Period

1st January to 31st March is the general admission session, and during this time, you can sign up for Part A and B. There will be a penalty for not joining in Part B during the IEP or SEP window. 

  • It is possible for you to enroll in a drug scheme from 1st April to 30th June if you don’t have Part A coverage and sign up for Part B during the general admission session. 

What are the Different Enrollment Periods?

There are three registration sessions: Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period, Annual Election Period, and Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period.  And benefits pertained to the above apply to individuals who have already enrolled in the Original Medicare Scheme. You can make changes to the scheme and add additional coverage proposals during the open admission.

Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period

The Medicare Supplement open registration sessions start on the 1st day of the month you become 65 years old, and Part B becomes effective. It is beneficial for the policyholders, and hence many signups during this time to take the benefits.

For a clear understanding of the situation, we can describe it like this.  Your OEP will start on 1st October, provided your birthday falls on 31st August, and your Part B becomes effective on 1st October. 

Your OEP remains valid for six months, and you will be allotted Medicare Supplement Guaranteed Issue Rights.

You can enroll in a federal health assurance supplement scheme during this session. The scheme is also known as Medigap.

During the IEP, you need to sign up for the federal health insurance benefit or a drug plan; otherwise, your next option is to go for AEP.  You can find exceptions to get qualified for federal health protection special admission sessions.


Annual Election Period (AEP)

The AEP starts from 15th October to 7th December, and at this time, you can get the following facilities.

  • Change to Medicare Advantage from Original Medicare.
  • Change to Original Medicare to Medicare Advantage.
  • Change to another federal health cover scheme.
  • Sign up in section D, or shift or exit from your prescription scheme.

The date of the Annual Election Session will be the same for every year without any changes.

Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period (MAOEP)

From 2019 onward, the MAOEP has been replaced with the Medicare advantage open enrolment session. It is applicable for individuals already joined in a federal health protection benefits scheme and contemplating changing to another or returning to Original Medicare.

Medicare Enrollment Periods (MEP) for everybody

Since MEP has different registration sessions, it will confuse beneficiaries because the federal health insurance admission terms have various dates for joining the scheme depending on the purposes. If the beneficiaries signup for the first time, they can find many enrollment sessions.

People who receive Social Security or Railroad Retirement benefits can automatically register for the federal health guarantee scheme when they become 65 years old.

Enrollment sessions open an excellent chance for individuals who want to join these schemes and Part D or change to a federal health insurance benefit plan from the Medicare coverage scheme.

Some are tailored for Medigap in the enrollment sessions, and some are exclusively for federal health cover advantage enrollment schemes.

Considering all the above-referred facts, it will be wise to go for the benefits one can avail of during the Medicare signup period.