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RALEIGH, NC (AP) — Most of North Carolina’s state workers, teachers and retirees would pay more for health insurance but get fewer benefits under a half-billion-dollar change being considered by lawmakers.

Legislation unveiled Tuesday also would scrap a provision that pushed cigarette smokers and those who were very obese into less-generous coverage until they quit puffing or lost weight.

The state health insurance plan bailout would cost $515 million, with most of that coming from reduced benefits and higher costs for its 663,000 members. The measure would, for the first time, force all active state employees and those retirees in a more-generous plan to pay monthly premiums of between $11 and $22 a month.

Lawmakers pumped $675 million into the plan two years ago but rising costs have contributed to budget gaps.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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