Covering the wide-ranging – and changing – health insurance landscape is complex and important. It includes the public health insurance programs as well as private health insurers and employment-based insurance. Insurance – or the lack of insurance – affects peoples' wellness, economic status and nearly every other aspect of life. The industry is regulated by federal rules intended to implement the Affordable Care Act, as well as laws in each state. It's a big business with profits to be made, inspiring research, innovations and trends.

A few tools and techniques can help you find new stories, sharpen and deepen your reporting and help you ask better questions of the experts you interview. You’ll learn how to identify trends in the insurance industry and hear from experts how to navigate the challenges presented by different kinds of studies.

This site will highlight good coverage, explain complicated but essential key concepts, point you to useful data, shared wisdom from fellow reporters, as well as a growing glossary of terms.

Send us ideas, questions, suggestions. Share your successes. Point us to good stories. Let us know how we can be more helpful. We wish you success as you pursue one of health journalism’s core topics.

About your topic leader

An independent journalist, Joseph Burns (@jburns18) has been covering health care since 1991 and writes frequently about health policy and the business of health care for a variety of publications, including Hospitals & Health Networks, Managed Care magazine, Ophthalmology Management, and The Dark Report. In addition, he has worked as a writer and editor for Athena Forum, the Center for Health Value Information, The Commonwealth Fund, the Health Care Incentives Improvement Institute, the National Business Coalition on Health, the National Committee for Quality Assurance, the National Quality Forum and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

One of the founding editors of the Practice Options newsletters (published by Premier Healthcare Resource), Burns also has edited books on health care and business strategies for Faulkner & Gray and Panel Publishers, both in New York. From 1991 to 1994, he was editor-in-chief of Business & Health magazine, formerly published by Medical Economics Co., and later was a contributing editor and author of a monthly column for Managed Healthcare Executive magazine. He also was the founding editor of The Financial Manager, a magazine for accountants and other business strategists.

Burns, now based in Massachusetts, began his career as a newspaper reporter in Connecticut where he worked for The Wallingford Post, the Meriden Record-Journal, and The Hartford Courant, the nation’s oldest newspaper. While working for The Courant he taught news writing in the journalism department at the University of Connecticut.

If you have questions or suggestions for the insurance core topic, please contact him at