COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- Uninsured South Carolinians can begin signing up for health coverage Tuesday through the online marketplace created under the federal health care overhaul. But many residents may have no idea how to do that in a state run by Republicans who have actively opposed the process.

South Carolina's spent no money to advertise the exchange. Still, hundreds of thousands of uninsured South Carolinians are expected to sign up for health insurance.

Officials of both nonprofits and insurers say they expect chaos and confusion. But supporters stress that people have months to understand their options.

Beginning in 2014, most people will have to pay a penalty if they don't have health insurance. But they have until Dec. 15 to sign up for coverage that starts Jan. 1, and until March 31 to avoid the penalty.

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