When you become eligible for Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) you also become eligible for Medicare Advantage (Part C). The first enrollment period for Medicare Advantage (MA) is called the Initial Coverage Election Period (ICEP).

Let’s take a closer look at ICEP and what it means for you.

What is the Initial Coverage Election Period (ICEP)

ICEP is your first opportunity to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan. If you enroll in an MA plan during your ICEP, your coverage will start on the same day as your Original Medicare coverage.

How do you become eligible for ICEP?

When you become eligible for Original Medicare, you also become eligible for the ICEP. You can enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan with or without prescription drug coverage.

Get more with a Medicare Advantage plan

Humana Medicare Advantage plans offer benefits beyond Original Medicare. Explore Humana's Medicare Advantage plans in your area today!

When does your ICEP happen?

Your ICEP begins:

  • 3 months before you become eligible for Part A and Part B

Your ICEP can end in 2 ways (whichever is later):

  • The last day of the month before entitlement to both Part A and B (you can choose to delay Part B enrollment under certain circumstances)
  • The last day of your Part B initial enrollment period

Once you’ve enrolled during your ICEP and enrollment takes effect, the ICEP has been used.

What’s the difference between the Initial Election Period (IEP) and ICEP?

If you’re new to Medicare Advantage, there are similarities and differences between IEP and ICEP. Both are 1-time enrollment periods and may occur at the same time. Here are the key differences between IEP and ICEP:

  • IEP—This is your first chance to enroll in Original Medicare.
  • ICEP—If you’re newly eligible for Medicare and wish to enroll in an MA (Part C) plan, this is your chance.

Can I enroll in an MA Medicare Advantage plan at another time?

If you missed your ICEP, you have 2 other opportunities to join or make changes to a Medicare Advantage plan:

*Eligibility for Special Election Periods are limited to certain qualifying events.

Get the coverage you need

An ICEP is your first chance to enroll in the MA plan of your choice. For more information on MA plans, check out our Humana Medicare Advantage plans.

Understanding enrollment periods


  1. “Joining a plan,” Medicare.gov, last accessed Jan. 8, 2024, https://www.medicare.gov/basics/get-started-with-medicare/get-more-coverage/joining-a-plan.

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