The federal health reform law requires states to set up a health insurance exchange marketplace where individuals and small groups can purchase (hopefully more affordable) health insurance. In order for consumers to make apples-to-apples comparisons among plans, the feds also require states to set a benchmark plan, with an essential health benefits package.
Lisa Aliferis is the founding editor of KQED's State of Health blog. Since 2011, she's been writing stories and editing them for the site. Before taking up blogging, she toiled for many years producing health stories for television, including Dateline NBC and San Francisco's CBS affiliate, KPIX-TV. She also wrote up a handy guide to the Affordable Care Act, especially for Californians. You can follow her on Twitter: @laliferis