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What is the Medicare ICEP?

What is the ICEP?
By Daniel Petkevich
Apr 7, 2023

Fair Square makes enrolling easy

Ready to take charge of your Medicare? The ICEP (Initial Coverage Election Period) gives you a chance to choose the right Medicare Advantage Plan for your needs. Making the right choice for your plan early in your Medicare eligibility can pay huge dividends for the rest of your life. But what is the ICEP on Medicare? Let’s find out.

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What is the ICEP on Medicare?

During your Initial Coverage Election Period (

ICEP

), you can enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan for the first time. This period begins three months before you're enrolled in Parts A and B and ends on the last day of the month before your enrollment in Parts A and B or the final day of your Part B initial enrollment period, whichever date is later.
Once you are eligible for Original Medicare (Parts A and B), you automatically qualify for the Initial Coverage Election Period (ICEP) for Medicare Advantage (Part C). If you are in your ICEP, that means you have the option to enroll in a

Medicare Advantage plan

.
Many Medicare Advantage plans include Part D prescription drug plans, but some do not. If you want to avoid potential Late Enrollment Penalties, make sure if you don’t have

creditable coverage

, you sign up for a Part D plan. 

What’s the difference between IEP and ICEP?

Medicare can be confusing, especially when you consider there are different terms for the same thing (like Part C and Medicare Advantage), and there are different concepts with similar names, like IEP and ICEP. 
The difference between IEP and ICEP is that the Initial Enrollment Period is when you can first sign up for Original Medicare (Parts A and B), whereas the Initial Coverage Election Period is when you can first enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan
So there is some overlap between your IEP and ICEP if you sign up for Medicare immediately. You almost certainly want to use your IEP to sign up for Original Medicare (unless you have creditable coverage), but you may elect not to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan during your ICEP. Many of our clients sign up for a Medicare Supplement (aka Medigap) plan instead of a Medicare Advantage plan. If you are interested in learning more about the differences between these two types of plans, you can

read more here

.

How to enroll during your ICEP

As a rule of thumb, earlier is better with Medicare enrollments. If you wait until the end of your ICEP, it could be three months after you have already turned 65. Signing up this late could lead to a delay in coverage by a month following your enrollment. The ICEP is the first chance to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan, so you can ensure that you’re missing out on having coverage. 
If you’re not sure how to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan or what your options are, call

Fair Square

at 888-376-2028. We will connect you with a Medicare expert who is eager to get you on the best plan for you and your family. Being proactive about your Medicare enrollment pays huge dividends. Call us today, and we will help you enroll.

Frequently asked questions about ICEP Medicare

  • When does the ICEP Medicare enrollment period start and end?
Your enrollment period begins three months before you're enrolled in both Parts A and B and ends on the last day of the month prior to your enrollment in both Parts A and B or the final day of your Part B initial enrollment period, whichever date is later.
  • Who is eligible to enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan during the ICEP Medicare enrollment period?
If you have already enrolled in Original Medicare, then you are eligible to sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan during your ICEP.
  • Can I enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan outside of the ICEP Medicare enrollment period?
Yes, there are different enrollment options, like Special Enrollment Periods. For more information about other enrollment periods on Medicare, check out

our article here

.
  • How do I enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan during the ICEP Medicare enrollment period?
You can enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan by

speaking with one of our licensed Medicare advisors at Fair Square.

  • What happens if I miss the ICEP Medicare enrollment period?
If you don’t have prescription drug coverage via a Part D plan and hoping to lump it with your Medicare Advantage plan, you might face a Late Enrollment Penalty for not signing up in time. Also, if you only have Original Medicare, you could be on the hook for 20% of all your Medicare expenses, which could add up to a sizable number.
  • Can I switch Medicare Advantage Plans during the ICEP Medicare enrollment period?
No, you can only sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan during the ICEP.
  • Can I add or drop prescription drug coverage during the ICEP Medicare enrollment period?
Many Medicare Advantage plans have a Part D prescription drug plan as part of the package. If that is the case, then you can add drug coverage. Otherwise, you have to sign up for drug coverage during another enrollment window.
  • What is the difference between ICEP and AEP?

The AEP, or Annual Enrollment Period,

is when you can make changes to your Medicare Advantage or Medicare Supplement plan. If you are interested in making changes, that is the time to do it.

Conclusion

To recap, the ICEP is a critical period to enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan and avoid potential Late Enrollment Penalties. It's important to remember that the ICEP and IEP are different, and there are eligibility requirements for each. If you're unsure about your options or how to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan, call Fair Square at 888-376-2028, and our licensed Medicare advisors will guide you through the process. Don't miss the chance to take control of your healthcare and ensure you have the best plan for you and your family. Being proactive about your Medicare enrollment can save you from future healthcare expenses, so call us today and schedule your appointment.

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Join the Fair Square Medicare Newsletter to stay informed on cost savings, changes to Medicare, and other valuable healthcare information.

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