COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP/SCRN/WVOC) - After three years, dozens of GOP challenges and Supreme Court validation, today is a milestone for the Affordable Care Act, or what some have termed “Obamacare.”

People who don't have access to job-based health insurance can start shopping right away for subsidized private policies.

But many may find the process complicated.

In South Carolina, four insurance companies will offer more than two dozen plans, and premiums will vary according to your age, health, where you live and your personal habits.

Health care consultant Lynn Bailey is urging people not to rush into signing up for coverage today.

You don't get a gift card for signing up on October 1st,” Bailey says.  “You have until December 15th to be enrolled for coverage that starts January 1st.  Take your time.”

You can get assistance from specially-trained “navigators” through groups such as the Cooperative Ministry.

And information about the federal Healthcare Insurance Marketplace is available online at