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SC state employees could pay more for health care

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- State employees in South Carolina would pay more for health care under the House Ways and Means budget plan.

The committee approved Wednesday spending an additional $59 million to fully cover the rising cost of health care premiums, so their take-home pay won't decrease. However, employees will pay more out of pocket if they get sick. Doctor, hospital and pharmacy co-pays would increase by 20 percent. Employees also would be required to spend more before coverage kicks in, since health care deductibles would also rise 20 percent.

Democratic Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter of Orangeburg says legislators need to figure out how to avoid those increases. That would cost roughly $50 million more.

The committee's spending plan for 2013-14 would provide raises only to officers in maximum-security prisons, at 3 percent.