Healthcare reform kicks in Thursday

lady and a stethescope
lady and a stethescope

Good or bad, some of the first fruits of healthcare reform arrive on September 23. For many families, the immediate results could be more freedom to pick doctors, lower costs for immunizations and other preventative services, and an easier time insuring their children.

While the full healthcare reform plan doesn't kick in until 2014 and the debate about its eventual effects and costs continues, most insured Americans will see immediate changes. Yet the changes aren't well understood by most Americans, according to a new Associated Press poll.

The changes generally apply to new plans -- employer group plans will adopt the changes either at the beginning of a new plan year or when a plan undergoes any major revamping -- but it won't be long before most plans see some impact.

Here's a look at the new benefits: