Mila Kofman, 42
Insurance pro and consumer advocate
As Maine's superintendent of insurance from 2008 to 2011, Kofman limited rate hikes by the state's largest health insurer.
Her reviews included uncommon citizen involvement -- one move: giving consumer groups funds for actuaries to analyze company filings -- and provided a model for other states.
Kofman, an attorney, traces her zeal to watching a relative struggle to pay for insurance after being injured in a car accident. She now heads a Washington, D.C., health exchange, opening next fall, that will help individuals and small businesses get affordable coverage.
"I've always been interested in how we finance health care. People die because they can't afford coverage," said Kofman.
When lives were disrupted by flood or fire, these MONEY heroes jumped in to help rescue their neighbors' finances.