The top court in the state has placed a temporary block on increases to plans for state workers.
The Supreme Court of South Carolina has announced that it has placed a block on rate increases for the health insurance plans of the employees of the state.
The justices have halted the increase until a lawsuit challenging the increase of 4.6 percent can be considered.
The typical health insurance increase had been approved by the General Assembly, but this year, they voted to pay for this increase, in its entirety, using state funds. However, Governor Nikki Haley and two other Budget Control Board members refused to pay the full increase with that money.
The request that Haley has made is to split the health insurance cost between the state and the tax payers.
This decision will help South Carolina to save almost $6 million, but it may send the cost onto the backs of the state employees, who could now face an average increase in premiums of $7.24 per month, as of January 1, 2013.
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The workers of the state were outraged by the decision and rapidly sued, heading directly to the Supreme Court of South Carolina for a resolution of the issue. Chief Justice Toal made his order on November 30 to halt the increase until the lawsuit has the opportunity to be resolved. The case is currently scheduled to go to court on January 23, at 11am.
This delay will likely not change the budget of the state health insurance plan, as the legislature of South Carolina has already put $20 million aside in order to cover the increase.
The health insurance increase that has been proposed would impact all of the 234,363 individuals who subscribe to the plan, including retirees. When dependents are included in the figure, it rises to a coverage of 415,362 people. That is the equivalent of 9 percent of the entire population of South Carolina. No changes will be made to the amount that these individuals will pay for their coverage until the Supreme Court can see the verdict of the lawsuit early next year