How reform affects you

What you need to know about how your family will benefit, what you'll really pay, whether you'll get better or worse care, and what could go wrong from here.

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A self-employed couple
 A self-employed couple
Ages: 38 and 36; kids, 6 and 10
Income: $85,000
Work status: Freelancers
Insurance: Individual policy
What's changing:

Within a year:
  • Lifetime limits on their current policies will be lifted.
  • If they buy a new policy, preventive care and screenings won't cost anything.
By 2014:
  • They can buy an individual policy on a state exchange.
  • With earnings of less than 400% of the poverty level (family of four today: $88,200), they'll be eligible for a subsidy worth around $1,000.
  • They'll have a choice of four plan types. Their subsidy will be based on the price of the "silver" plan, which covers an average of 70% of medical costs.
  • Out-of-pocket costs will initially be capped at $7,933 a year.
  • If they don't buy insurance, they'll pay a penalty of the higher of 1% of income or $95.
The bottom line: This family will likely end up paying less for health coverage than they do today because of the subsidies.
NEXT: Small-business owners
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Last updated April 21 2010: 5:35 PM ET
Source: Kaiser Family Foundation
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