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COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- The South Carolina Supreme Court will decide if state employees must pay more for health insurance.

The State newspaper reported (http://bit.ly/TuDejt ) the justices have agreed to decide if Gov. Nikki Haley and the Budget and Control Board had the authority to raise insurance rates for more than 230,000 employees and their families.

Lawmakers voted in July against raising the costs. But the Budget and Control Board voted 3-2 last month to increase rates by nearly 5 percent.

Two lawsuits have been filed by state workers seeking to block the increase scheduled to take effect Jan. 1.

The schedule for the case could mean the justices won't hear arguments until Dec. 15.

State employees could ask the court to delay the increase until a decision is made.

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