There are many different types of eligibility periods and enrollment periods in the world of Medicare. To make things worse, most of these enrollment periods sounds similar but are quite different. For example, the Annual Enrollment Period (“AEP”) is very different than the Open Enrollment Period (“OEP”). This article discusses the Initial Coverage Eligibility Period (“ICEP”). Many people confuse the ICEP with the Initial Enrollment Period (“IEP”). If you are confused by all of these terms, there is no need to panic. Our office is happy to help explain the different enrollment periods and what you qualify for. Best of all, our brokers do not charge any fees.

Initial Coverage Eligibility Period

People who are initially eligible for Part A and Part B of Medicare experience the ICEP. Part A and Part B of Medicare is also known as Original Medicare. To qualify for Original Medicare, you must be 65 or you must have an approved disability through the Social Security Administration. After receiving Social Security Disability Income for 24 months you should qualify for Part A and Part B of Medicare.

Once you are enrolled in Part A and Part B for the first time, you are now in your Initial Coverage Eligibility Period. The Initial Coverage Eligibility Period occurs during the 3 months leading up to your Part B effective date. For example, if your Part B coverage starts on January 1st, your Initial Coverage Eligibility Period will be during October, November, and December.

During this time period, you can apply for a Medicare Advantage Plan, Standalone Part D Drug Plan, or a Medicare Supplement Plan. If you apply for one of these Medicare plans during this time period, you will not be asked health questions. Fortunately, both Medicare Advantage Plans and Standalone Part D Drug Plans never ask health questions. Even though they never ask health questions, there are very specific times of the year when you can enroll in these coverage options. Vice versa, you can apply for a Medicare Supplement plan at any time of the year. Depending on your situation, there may be health questions when you apply for a Medicare Supplement plan.