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COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- The South Carolina Supreme Court has blocked an increase in costs for state employee health insurance.

The State newspaper reported (http://bit.ly/TKVuQ8) the justices acted until they consider a lawsuit challenging the 4.6 percent increase for state workers.

The General Assembly voted to pay for the typical insurance increase. But Gov. Nikki Haley and two other members of the Budget and Control Board refused to use the money to pay all of the increase.

The decision saves the state nearly $6 million. But it would cost the average state worker an extra $7 a month starting Jan. 1.

State employees sued to block the plan to split the cost of the increase.

The court is to consider the case Jan. 23.

Including employees' families, the state plan covers about 415,000 people.

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