N Carolina court: State retirees should pay health premiums

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A North Carolina appeals court is throwing out a judge's ruling that a former Supreme Court chief justice and other retired state government workers can't be forced to pay part of their health insurance premiums.

A state Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday the retirees don't have a contract preventing them from contributing to their coverage. A three-judge panel ruled unanimously that retired state employees were promised nothing more than what is offered to current workers.

Legislators passed a law in 2011 requiring retirees to pay premiums they didn't pay while working. Retirees including former Chief Justice I. Beverly Lake sued, saying that broke the state's promise to provide health insurance.

The State Health Plan covers more than 700,000 employees, retirees and their dependents.

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