We understand this is a hardship,“ said Brian Sassi, president and CEO of WellPoint’s consumer-business unit. "This is not something we voluntarily choose to do.

Health Insurance Costs: ‘Shocking’ Premium Increases Coming, Says Health And Human Services Dept.

“Eye-popping health insurance premium increases of up to 39 percent are a worrisome sign of the times, the Obama administration said in a report Thursday as it tried to tap public frustration with high costs to revive the stalemated effort to overhaul health care.

Proposed premium increases by WellPoint’s Anthem Blue Cross for Californians purchasing their own coverage set off a wave of criticism and forced the company last week to announce a postponement. Now, the Health and Human Services Department says similar pressure on premiums is being felt in at least six other states.

"This shocking increase isn’t unique,” said the report, being presented by Secretary Kathleen Sebelius at a news conference Thursday. “Across the country, families have seen their premiums skyrocket in recent years, and experts predict these increases will continue.”