When can I first apply for a Medicare plan?

The time when you can first apply for a Medicare plan is called the Initial Coverage Election Period (ICEP).

  • If you’re turning 65 years old: You can apply when you first become eligible for Medicare: from 3 months before the month you turn age 65 until 3 months after the month you turn age 65.
  • For example: If your 65th birthday is June 15th, 2013, you can apply for Medicare any time between March and September 2013.
     
  • If you get Medicare due to a disability: You can apply from 3 months before until 3 months after your 25th month of cash disability payments.
  • For example: If you have been receiving cash disability payments since March 2012, you can apply for Medicare any time between December 2013 and July 2014.