LA QUINTA, Calif. -

The Obama administration is encouraging people to sign up for insurance because of the Affordable Care Act.

The open enrollment period closes at the end of the month.

At  the La Quinta Medical Center Thursday, bilingual certified health care counselors were available to help people with the enrollment process.

The counselors -- part of a group of 26 -- have been canvassing the valley to educate people about the different health care options available on the Covered California exchange.

It's part of a coordinated effort between JFK Memorial Hospital, Desert Regional Medical Center and the Desert Health Care Foundation.

"Know that it's a free service.  People should not be paying for this service, and that the help is there and that the deadline is coming up, so we're trying to do as much as we can in a short amount of time," said Ynez Canela, Coachella Valley state exchange liaison.

The open enrollment deadline is March 31.

More cost-free enrollment assistance will be available next Thursday at the La Quinta library.