As full-scale implementation of health care reform nears ever closer, looming heavy on the minds of employers, insurers and health care providers, questions continue to swirl around numerous key aspects,  with California’s online health benefits exchanges high among the issues.[poll id="54"]

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Particularly, exactly how the state’s exchange -- known as Covered California -- will benefit employers is still being developed and realized by those who stand to benefit.

The goal of Covered California, and other similar exchanges throughout the country, is twofold: to help residents without employer-based health insurance navigate the individual market and find affordable plans, and to similarly help small business achieve the same goal.

The exchange will be broken up into seven geographic regions throughout the state, with all six North Bay counties falling into the Northern California region. In each designated area, Covered California anticipates on having no fewer than six health plans participate, and up to eight in Northern California.

Read more in "Insurance exchange a key, developing piece of health care reform" from the Feb. 4 issue.