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Politics

Some Bay Area Residents Refuse To Sign Up For Insurance, Will Pay Penalty

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(CBS) Betty Yu
Betty Yu joined KPIX 5 in November 2013 as a general assign...
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CBS SF Bay (con't)

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SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) – Despite an extended deadline to sign up for health care under Covered California, some in the Bay Area are choosing to pay a penalty instead of insurance because of the cost.

Brian Roi has worked as a bartender without insurance for the last two years. He chose not to sign up for health coverage because at the end of the night, he said the math does not add up.

“It doesn’t work for me.” Roi told KPIX 5. “I went to college. I have to pay all these student loans still I’m paying those. I’m paying credit card bills that incurred when I went to college.”

Roi said he would have to pay about $3,000 this year for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

He said it’s just too expensive. “I’m just trying to stay healthy,” Roi said.

Roi would rather pay the penalty, which is $95 the first year or one percent of a person’s taxable income, whichever is greater. In his case, it comes out to $350 for 2014.

“I guess they’re trying to scare people into doing it. But a smart person will realize that’s only one month of insurance,” he said.

Covered California spokesperson Dana Howard told KPIX 5 about those who don’t sign up, “That would be a mistake, because you might be able to come out ahead financially for a short time of paying the penalty and not paying for your premium, but you will pay that penalty and you will have nothing to show for it.”

As of February, 25 percent of Obamacare applicants were young adults under 34.

Robert Hicken, a self-employed entrepreneur, said, “I could have done it, I could have pulled the trigger, but that feeling in the back of my mind is still kind of rubbed me the wrong way that I live here in the United States of America and I’m being forced to do something.”

Hicken knows he can’t go without health insurance for long, but he is taking the risk for now.

Representatives for Covered California told KPIX 5 that they don’t know how many people know about the law but refuse to sign up.

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