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Obamacare’s individual mandate in two minutes

Vox’s Ezra Klein explains exactly how the individual mandate works

Obamacare hit a milestone this week. As of March 17th, more than 5 million people have signed up for private health insurance through Obamacare’s insurance marketplaces. The problem? Those enrollees are, in general, older than the Obama administration initially hoped. If Obamacare ends up with too many old people and too few young people premiums could rise in 2015.

The last day to buy insurance through Obamacare in 2014 is March 31st. But the Obama administration isn’t panicking. They always expected younger, healthier people to wait until the final weeks of open enrollment to sign up. That’s because younger, healthier people often need a push to buy insurance. And the White House thinks they’re about to get that push.

Come April, the individual mandate begins penalizing people who can afford health insurance but haven’t bought it. And if they go uninsured in 2015, too, that penalty gets a lot steeper.