SC Supreme Court mulling state health premium suit

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COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — An attorney says a South Carolina government board violated the constitution when it voted to split the cost of increases in public workers' health insurance premiums between employers and employees.

Allen Nickles told the state Supreme Court on Wednesday the Budget and Control Board infringed on the separation of powers when it raised rates on both by 4.6 percent.

Public workers sued after the panel's August vote to split the cost of the increases that legislators had already agreed to cover with money for agencies, school districts and public colleges. The lawsuit says the panel lacked the authority to raise premiums in spite of lawmakers' action.

Justices have blocked the increase until they decide the case. Proposed legislation would keep premiums the same throughout 2013 regardless of the board's decision.

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Kinnard can be reached at http://twitter.com/MegKinnardAP

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