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.

California and other states should consider the medical care used by the highest-cost patients who battle cancer and other chronic conditions when setting essential benefits under federal reform, according to a study.

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