Annual Election Period (AEP) AEP runs from October 15 through December 7. Consumers can change or add a Prescription Drug plan, change Medicare Advantage (MA) plans, return to Original Medicare, or enroll in an MA plan for the first time, even if they did not enroll during their Initial Election Period.
Open Enrollment Period (OEP) New for 2019, OEP runs January 1 through March 31. Enrollees of Medicare Advantage plans, either MA-PD or MA-only plans, are eligible to make changes. Such individuals are permitted to enroll in another MA plan or Original Medicare, with or without a Prescription Drug Plan.
Initial Coverage Election Period (ICEP) and Initial Election Period (IEP) ICEP and IEP occur when consumers first become eligible for Medicare. These periods are for all consumers becoming eligible for Medicare, whether it’s due to turning 65 or a qualifying disability. Eligible consumers can enroll in an MA plan of their choosing, including a Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plan (MAPD). Those already enrolled in Medicare due to disability have a second IEP when they turn 65. Based on eligibility criteria and election choices, ICEP and IEP may occur together or separately.
Special Election Period (SEP) A Special Election Period lets beneficiaries change their election in accordance with requirements during certain times of the year, outside the AEP. The qualifications to use SEPs and the types of elections allowed vary. Situations such as dual-eligible status and institutionalization let beneficiaries switch plans outside the AEP.
FYI: At time of enrollment, the consumer must have Medicare Parts A and/or B. Verification is required.