In the run up to the March 31st deadline to enroll for Affordable Health Insurance, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is leading the push to get low income families to register.

The reason? HUD Region two Deputy Regional Administrator Mirza Orriols said for the clients they represent, those who receive Section 8 housing assistance, live in public housing or who own their own homes ... paying for an emergency room visit or hospitalization could mean the difference between eating or paying a mortgage.

"So we want to make sure that all of our residents, all of our homeowners do get proper health insurance so that we make sure that they maintain a stable home environment," Orriols explained.

Orriols also added that it's very understandable that low income families are avoiding applying for affordable health care because of the rumors they've heard or fear that they can't even afford "affordable" health care with the financial obligations they already have. However, she encourages folks to at least log onto the website to get more information or talk to any of the Navigators there are in New Jersey.

"Some of the families might be surprised to hear that they will get federal assistance for the health insurance that they may choose depending on their income." She also added that more Garden State residents are eligible for Medicaid since the program was expanded in New Jersey.

Orriols also confirmed that there is a penalty associated with not signing up by the deadline. "Yes, if they don't sign up for the deadline and the deadline is March 31st. They will be penalized $95 and every year that they don't sign up, that fee goes higher," she explained.

Local Health Care Navigators are Available at the Foodbank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties and Orriols said that Ocean Health Initiatives (OHI) also provides Navigators as well.