(Reuters) - The Obama administration on Wednesday outlined the essential health benefits that insurers must offer to consumers in the individual and small group markets under the new healthcare reform law.

The regulations set out 10 categories of core benefits, but give states flexibility in determining the specific coverage that would be required.

Published in the Federal Register by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the rule emerged as private insurers worked to devise health plans that could be sold in new online state marketplaces, known as healthcare exchanges, which are scheduled to begin enrolling beneficiaries on October 1.

(Reporting by David Morgan; Editing by Jan Paschal)