Q. I know the Affordable Care Act deadline has passed for signing up this year, but could you explain Medicaid expansion? Is it easier to get Medicaid now?

A.

Even though the deadline for the ACA has passed, qualified patients can sign up for Medicaid any time of the year. Free or low cost health care coverage through Medicaid is based on income and family size.

In all states, Medicaid provides heath coverage for some low-income people, families and children, pregnant women, low-income elderly and people with disabilities (and that includes people diagnosed with cancer). Medicaid programs must follow federal guidelines but they vary from state to state.

In 2014, Medicaid was expanded to include individuals between the ages of 19-65 (parents and adults without dependent children) with incomes up to 138% of the Federal Poverty Limit ($16,105 for an individual and $31,809 for a family of four).

Not all states expanded their Medicaid program (view map for more information), but if you have a disability you may still qualify under your states existing rules.

To find out if you qualify for Medicaid in your state, please visit your state’s Medicaid website or visit this section of healthcare.gov.