4. If I have a health problem, will health care reform make it easier for me to get coverage?
One of the core ideas behind health care reform is to get insurance for almost everybody -- including those who haven’t been able to get affordable insurance because of a pre-existing medical condition.
Health reform legislation will likely prohibit insurance companies from denying coverage or raising the cost of premiums based on a person’s medical history. Depending on the final legislation, people with conditions like diabetes or heart disease might be guaranteed insurance at the same rates as other people the same age without those health problems.
This is a key issue to watch as legislation unfolds, especially if you or a loved one is living with a health problem.
5. How will health care reform affect my taxes?
While proponents argue that health care reform will save money in the long run, it will cost a lot of money at the outset. Taxes will probably go up somehow in order to help pay for insurance for uninsured people. But the specifics are not yet clear.
Proposals have included increasing taxes on families earning over $350,000 a year, raising taxes on alcohol and sugary drinks, and levying taxes on some of the currently tax-free employer health plans.
6. Will health care reform affect the cost of medications?
Drug costs are a prime concern to a lot of Americans, but so far it’s not clear how health care reform would affect them. There is a proposal to reduce medication costs for people on Medicare. It’s possible that the government would negotiate lower costs for other people as well, but that’s by no means clear.
7. How will health care reform affect Medicare?
Experts believe that most people on traditional Medicare won’t see a significant difference in their medical care.
But health care reform probably will result in some changes. The government may reduce subsidies to Medicare Advantage plans - private insurance plans approve by Medicare - and may change how doctors and hospitals are paid. There’s also interest in increasing Medicare coverage of prescription drugs so seniors pay less for medications.