The head of California's Obamacare exchange has a salty message for people who haven't signed up for health insurance yet: don't "p---" away your money by failing to get covered!
Covered California CEO Peter Lee's blunt words Tuesday came as he warned Golden State residents about increased fines under Obamacare this year for not having health insurance, and as he announced that more than 217,000 new customers had signed up for plans sold by the exchange.
Those fines, paid in the form of tax penalties, are at least $325 per adult, and half that amount per child, but can be as high as 2 percent of household income in 2015.
In a briefing with reporters, Lee noted that a family of four that opted not to get coverage in 2015 could end up paying "a $1,000 penalty that is essentially being p----- away."
Instead of paying that fine, Lee said, that same family could use the money to buy insurance through the Covered California exchange, which would protect the family financially if they needed health-care services that without a health plan would strain their budget.
"Every month a consumer goes without coverage is a month of risk," he said.
He noted that nearly 90 percent of Covered California's 1.2 million customers in 2014 received federal subsidies to help pay for their premiums, and, "Some of them are literally paying $1 per month. Some of them are paying $12 per month."
Lee announced that the exchange is increasing "messaging" about the potential fines through social media, paid advertising and service channels as open enrollment in Obamacare enters its final full month. The enrollment period ends Feb. 15.