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How Health Care Reform Will Affect Your Family

While the biggest changes from Obama's bill don't go into effect until 2014, it's not too soon to learn what they really mean for you and your family. Here you'll find an insider's guide to the rules and the critical facts, plus answers to big questions about your family's coverage.
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Eva Tatcheva

Your Situation: I'm covered through my job.

Your health plan will likely remain the same, although costs may increase. Most of the changes in coverage won't affect anyone who currently has decent insurance. "The new law should provide the peace of mind that if you're laid off or become too sick to work, it'll be easier to remain insured," says Karyn Schwartz, a senior policy analyst with the Kaiser Family Foundation in Washington, D.C. Also, there will be no more denials or sky-high premiums if you have a preexisting medical condition, and no more worrying about your coverage being revoked if you get sick and rack up big bills. If you or a family member has a serious illness, the fees you'll need to pony up out of your own pocket are capped so you won't have to choose between losing your home and forgoing life-saving care.

The tax on so-called "Cadillac" medical coverage, employer-sponsored plans with premium costs of more than $10,200 a year for individuals or $27,500 for families, won't roll out until 2018. "And if in the future you or your employer wants to switch coverage, it will be easier to comparison shop and find plans that offer comprehensive benefits through the insurance exchanges [online financial marketplaces in each state where individuals and people employed in small businesses pool their purchasing power to shop for the best plans]," says Cheryl Fish-Parcham, deputy director of health policy at Families USA.

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