There’s never been a better time to get health insurance, according to Covered California, because a lot of financial help is available and the state will impose a substantial penalty for the uninsured. Covered California Director Peter Lee was in Redding Tuesday with an urgent message. A lot of new financial assistance is being offered to help the middle class, even for families making up to $150,000 a year, but the deadline is this Friday. Open enrollment is the only time that people can sign up for health insurance in the individual market without a so-called “qualifying life event”. Lee says there’s another major motivating factor. California’s Franchise Tax Board will impose a penalty for people who don’t have health insurance in 2020. For a family of four, the penalty will be at least $2,000. It’s quick and easy for someone to check eligibility and ballpark figures for premiums at coveredca.com.