Wed, 19 Feb 2014 22:38:56 GMT — COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- The House budget-writing committee wants to give South Carolina state employees a slight raise and cover their rising health insurance premiums, but their out-of-pocket costs would increase again. The Ways and Means Committee tentatively approved Wednesday a 1 1/2 percent cost-of-living raise for state employees for the fiscal year starting July 1. Members also agreed to spend an additional $57 million to cover higher premiums for employees of state agencies and school districts. Republican Rep. Jim Merrill of Charleston says his subcommittee considered giving a higher raise and requiring employees to pick up part of the health care increases but decided that wouldn't be responsible. He says employees would have to pay slightly more for their co-payments. He did not specify how much. Co-payments increased 20 percent this year.
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