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Medicare Initial Coverage Election Period (ICEP) Explained

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It’s critical for you to comprehend what you can do during each type of Medicare enrollment period because there are numerous variations in the structure of the enrollment period.

We’ll describe your Medicare Initial Coverage Election Period (ICEP) in this article, along with what you may do throughout it.

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What’s the Difference Between IEP and ICEP?

Your first chance to select a Medicare Advantage (Medicare Part C) plan to replace your Original Medicare (Medicare Part A and Part B) coverage is during your Medicare ICEP. The public element of Medicare, known as Original Medicare (Part A and Part B), is run by the federal government.

  • The public element of Medicare, known as Original Medicare (Part A and Part B), is run by the federal government.

  • Private insurance businesses that sell Medicare Advantage plans offer all of the same advantages that Original Medicare does. But, many Medicare Advantage plans include extra benefits that Original Medicare does not, such as coverage for prescription drugs and routine dental and hearing care.

 

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What is IEP Medicare?

Your initial enrollment period (IEP) for Medicare occurs during this time. You can now sign up for Original Medicare Parts A and B for the first time.

Your Medicare ICEP and IEP are extremely similar and frequently take place at the same time.

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Your ICEP will run concurrently with your IEP if you sign up for Medicare Parts A and B when you reach 65. Your IEP is a seven-month enrollment period that starts three months prior to your 65th birthday, includes your birthday month, and then lasts for three more months.

Medicare Part B enrollment is voluntary, so some people decide to put it off. Your ICEP will start three months before your Part B coverage is scheduled to start, and it will terminate on the last day of the month before your Part B coverage starts if you decide to enroll in Part B after your IEP.

 

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Here are a few illustrations to help illustrate how your ICEP and IEP differ from one another:

  • Example #1
    On July 15, you will turn 65, making you a new Medicare beneficiary. Your IEP starts on April 1 and finishes on October 31 (three months before your birthday month) (three months after your birthday month). During this time, you enroll in both Part A and Part B. Then, your ICEP goes from April 1 to October 31 as well. The coverage under your Medicare Advantage plan cannot begin before the start date of your Original Medicare coverage if you enroll in one during this time.

  • Example #2
    You will turn 65 on July 15th. Your IEP is in force from April 1 to October 15 of this year. Yet you choose not to sign up for Part B since you are still working and covered by your employer’s health plan at this time. When you reach retirement age, you enroll in Part B; your Part B coverage begins on March 1. In this scenario, your ICEP would be in effect from December 1 to February 28. (the three months before your Part B coverage is scheduled to take effect). Your Medicare Advantage plan’s coverage would not start until March 1.

During your ICEP, you can also sign up for a Medicare Part D plan. Prescription drugs are covered by Medicare Part D insurance.

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Original Medicare may be used with a stand-alone Part D prescription medication plan. Prescription drug coverage is already a feature of the majority of Medicare Advantage plans. Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug Plans (MA-PD) are the name given to these programs.

How Do You Become Eligible for an ICEP?

You must fulfill each of the following prerequisites in order to start an ICEP and sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan:

  • Both Medicare Parts A and B must be active on your account.

  • You must have a fixed address in the Medicare Advantage plan’s service area if you want to enroll.

You won’t be able to sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan if you decide not to purchase Part B coverage during your IEP. When you ultimately sign up for Part B, a Medicare Advantage plan becomes available to you. You have a three-month window to enroll in a plan through the ICEP.

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You can learn more about Medicare enrollment periods by visiting the official Medicare website.

When Else Can I Enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan?

Your next chance to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan will probably be during the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period if you don’t do so during your ICEP (AEP, also known as the fall Medicare Open Enrollment Period). Every year, this time frame extends from October 15 to December 7.

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A Special Enrollment Period (SEP), which may be given to Medicare beneficiaries at any time of the year who encounter qualifying life events like moving or being discharged from a skilled nursing home, may be available to some beneficiaries.

 

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Online comparisons of Medicare Advantage plans are free, and there is no commitment to sign up. If you’d like to evaluate plans in your area and enroll in the best one, you can also call to speak with a professional insurance representative at +1 (877) 255-0284.

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FAQs

What is ICEP enrollment period?

When you sign up for Part B, do you automatically receive an Icep enrollment period?

The Initial Coverage Election Period (ICEP) for Medicare Advantage starts three months before you sign up for both Parts A and B and lasts until the last day of your Part B initial enrollment period, whichever comes later.

What is the difference between Medicare Advantage IEP and ICEP?

According to Chapter 2 of the Medicare Managed Care Handbook, the ICEP is a time frame for enrolling in Medicare Advantage. According to Chapter 3 of the Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit Handbook, the IEP is an enrollment period for prescription benefits.

 

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