Most people can only enroll during certain times of the year.
The ICEP is the 7-month period that begins three months before you become eligible for Medicare Part B and ends three months after your month of eligibility. During this period you can join, switch, or drop a Medicare Advantage plan. Generally, the initial coverage election period related to an individual's 65 birthday or 25 month of disability. If you enroll during this period, your coverage begins on the 1st day of the month of entitlement to Medicare Part A and Part B – or – the 1st day of the month following the month the enrollment request was made if after entitlement has occurred. This means that if you enroll during the period that relates to your 65th birthday, your coverage begins as follows:
|If you enroll||Your coverage begins|
|1-3 months before the month you turn age 65||The first day of the month you turn age 65|
|The month your turn age 65||The first day of the following month|
|1-3 months after the month your turn age 65||The first day of the following month|
During this time you can choose to keep your current coverage or make changes to your coverage for the upcoming year. If you decide to change to a new plan, you can choose any of the following types of plans:
If you disenroll from a Medicare prescription drug plan and go without creditable prescription drug coverage, you may have to pay a late enrollment penalty if you join a Medicare drug plan later. ("Creditable" coverage means the coverage is at least as good as Medicare's standard prescription drug coverage.)
Your coverage will begin on January 1 of the following year, as long as the plan receives your enrollment request by December 7.
During this period, you can cancel Medicare Advantage enrollment and switch to Original Medicare. If you choose to switch to Original Medicare, you may also choose a separate Medicare Prescription Drug Plan (PDP) at the same time.
Your coverage will end on the last day of the month after we receive your request to switch to Original Medicare. If you also choose to enroll in a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan (PDP), your coverage with the drug plan will begin on the first of the month following your request to switch.
For example, you decide to disenroll from your Medicare Advantage plan on January 20 and submit the proper disenrollment forms, your coverage with that plan will end January 31. You will be on Original Medicare starting February 1. If you enroll in a Prescription Drug Plan (PDP) plan during the month of January, your Prescription Drug Plan (PDP) coverage will also begin February 1.
From February 15 forward, enrollment periods are only available to people who are newly eligible for Medicare or who are in a Special Enrollment Period (SEP).
In most cases, you must stay enrolled for that calendar year starting the date your coverage begins. However, in certain situations, you may be able to join, switch, or drop a Medicare Advantage Plan at other times. These are called Special Enrollment Periods. Some of these situations include the following:
If you are ready to enroll, click here.
Y0089_MP3537 Approved 11/06/2013
Last updated: 10/1/2013