House Scrutinizes Health Insurer's 39% Rate Hike
Anthem Blue Cross jacks some premiums in California
By Jane Yager,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 10, 2010 5:50 AM CST
Graphic shows the change in average annual health insurance premiums and worker contributions for family coverage.
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(Newser) – As Congress opened a probe into a health insurer's impending premium hikes of up to 39%, President Obama yesterday cited Anthem Blue Cross's rate increases as evidence of the need for health care reform. "If we don't act, this is just a preview of coming attractions," Obama said. "Premiums will continue to rise for folks with insurance; millions more will lose their coverage altogether; our deficits will continue to grow larger."

The premium hikes will affect some 800,000 Anthem customers in California who have
individual policies and are not part of group coverage, the Los Angeles Times reports. The insurance industry blamed the nation's rapidly rising health care costs on rising prices for hospital care, prescription drugs, and doctors, and said they must raise premiums because of the growing number of uninsured people who depend on expensive emergency room care.