(CNN) - While many changes to Americans' health care outlined in the the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act don't take effect until 2014, a Supreme Court ruling expected this month could stop those changes from coming at all.
The act, often referred to as "Obamacare," is a step toward guaranteeing insurance coverage for all Americans and received enough support to pass in Congress in 2010. However, the Supreme Court agreed to hear arguments on several of its core issues in March . The court may rule on the issues by the end of this month.
No matter the ruling, most Americans will be affected. Here are some of the issues being discussed right now:
One hundred and sixty million Americans receive health care from their employers, many of whom set their own rates for their employees. If the court rules against the act, employees might face higher premiums, fewer network providers, higher-deductible plans and more stringent regulations on adding adult dependents.
What is Corporate America's Plan B to safeguard employees and industry if the act is struck down? Here are some insights:
Being insured helps safeguard against pricey medical bills. However, a report released Tuesday from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services suggests that the act won't limit national health spending. In fact, it predicts that spending will skyrocket after a brief recession-induced dip.
Growth in health spending doesn't necessarily correlate with growth in health care costs, but what does it mean? Here's a projection:
Just because a negative ruling would give health insurers the ability to opt out of reform-era options doesn't mean they're going to. UnitedHealthcare, the nation's largest health insurer, said it will maintain some of the act's key mandates regardless of the court's decision. Still, it said it will take cues from its competitors as to how to proceed on certain issues.
Here's what the company said:
For today's young adults, health care comes last. If you can't afford to feed and clothe yourself, why budget for something that hasn't happened yet? However, youth get sick and injured too, and their future bank accounts might take a toll if the act is repealed -- or if they don't insure themselves, period.
But experts suggest that youth insure themselves; here's why:
Doctors at risk
Increases in insurance coverage and changes in Medicare help patients avoid footing hefty medical bills, but sometimes their doctors pay the price.
Read why some doctors are running out of money:
The fine print
Very few people take the time to read bills in their entirety, but should we? CNN investigates lesser-known changes to the health care system tucked into "Obamacare."
Check out these tidbits:
An armed robbery in South Austin set off a search for two men with guns early Friday morning.
Two school buses and a car crashed on eastbound Parmer Lane near Ranch Road 620 on Friday morning but there were no reports of injuries.
A local road project more than two decades in the making won't save drivers as much time as many had hoped.
The University of Texas Board of Regents adjourned Thursday without taking action on the job status of embattled UT President Bill Powers.
Longhorns coach Mack Brown talked with reporters Thursday for the first time since reports surfaced this week that he could be stepping down.
Patchy light rain is forecast in Central Texas Friday as an upper level disturbance moves across the state. Rainfall totals are expected to be very light, and showers will end by Friday night. Sunshine, but breezy and cool conditions are …