Can’t get enough of Obamacare’s individual mandate? Get ready for “mandate plus.” What’s the catch?

The Obama administration always said there was a practical reason it needed the mandate, which starts next year. It wasn’t to be mean to people – it was supposed to pull in enough healthy customers to help pay for all the sick people who will get coverage.

Here’s the catch: the individual mandate penalties will be pretty weak as they are phased in over two years – only $95.00 when they start in 2014, much less than it costs to buy insurance. And yet, everyone with pre-existing conditions will have to be accepted for coverage right away.

That’s why insurance companies are telling the administration the mandate won’t be enough for the first two years. They want more incentives – such as a late enrollment fee – to get healthy people to sign up quickly. Without getting the healthy folks in, the fear is that everyone’s health insurance premiums could shoot through the roof when all those sick people get their coverage.

The idea is being called “mandate plus.”

The mandate is the “stick” that’s supposed to prevent that, by making people pay a penalty (or as Supreme Court called it, a tax) if they don’t get health coverage when they’re eligible. When the mandate is at full strength in 2016, people will pay $695.00 or 2.5 percent of their income, whichever is greater.

“There’s broad agreement that in order for the exchanges and the insurance market reforms to work, the coverage needs to be affordable, and there needs to be as many healthy people in the risk pool as possible.