5. You could face coverage changes at work. Companies offering expensive plans with gold-plated benefits—with premiums higher than $8,000 for individuals or $21,000 for families—might be forced to scale coverage back or face fines from the government in 2019. That means you might see your vision or dental coverage or perks like seeing a specialist without preapproval from your primary-care physician disappear.
6. Women will finally get maternity coverage and nursing support. Insurers will be required to cover maternity care as they do other medical procedures, says Debra Ness, president of the National Partnership for Women and Families, a nonprofit reproductive-rights organization based in Washington, D.C. This benefit, though, won't kick in until 2014. Another upcoming plus for postpartum moms: Employers will be required to allow an unpaid "reasonable break time for nursing mothers" in the first year after giving birth. (The bill doesn't define whether it's 15 minutes or 45 minutes, but this could be addressed in a future rule issued by the Department of Labor.) Employers would need to provide women a private place, other than a bathroom, to use a breast pump. The provision does, however, exempt companies with fewer than 50 workers if the requirement would impose an "undue hardship."
7. You won't be stuck without insurance if you leave your job. If you lose or quit your job, you could be facing outrageously high COBRA payments to keep your insurance or be left with no insurance. The exchanges, once in operation in 2014, will offer a third option—cheaper insurance, though not identical to your employer plan. If you're living on just unemployment, you might also qualify for free healthcare coverage through Medicaid (if you don't have a spouse who's earning wages), a government program that's being expanded under health reform to include all low-income adults. "If you lose your job, you'll be able to go into the exchange and get coverage if you have a pre-exisiting condition," says Pollitz. "That's a huge improvement."
8. You may be hit with higher taxes. Starting in 2013, you'll pay a higher Medicare payroll tax of 2.35 percent on earnings of more than $200,000 a year if you're filing as an individual or on earnings of more than $250,000 if you're filing as a couple—an increase from the current 1.45 percent. (That comes out to an extra $500 per year for couples earning $300,000.) High-income earners will face an additional 3.8 percent tax on investment income from dividends and interest.
This story was originally reported on March 22, 2010. It has been updated.