Originally created 10/31/06

Across South Carolina



Minimally insured to see higher premiums

COLUMBIA - Starting Jan. 1, drivers in South Carolina who buy the least amount of insurance coverage allowed by law will see their premiums go up as legislatively mandated changes in coverage take effect.

Those drivers will begin getting notification this month from their insurance providers if their policies will be affected.

Minimum coverage will go to $25,000 of bodily injury per person in a wreck, up from $15,000; $50,000 of bodily injury per accident, up from $30,000; and, $25,000 of property damage coverage, up from $10,000.

The increases - from $32 to $118 a year - will affect only those drivers buying minimum liability coverage.

Guard gets 8 large Chinook choppers

MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE - Eight large transport helicopters that can haul dozens of troops or hurricane relief supplies anywhere in the state within 30 minutes are being added to the South Carolina Army National Guard's fleet, officials said Monday.

The twin-rotor CH-47 Chinooks are aviation "work horses" that can fight fires or make water rescues, said Maj. Gen. Stan Spears, South Carolina's adjutant general.

"We have never had this capability before - they give us an enormous range" of options for military or peacetime, Maj. Gen. Spears said.

The helicopters can carry about two dozen injured people lying on cots or 33 soldiers fully loaded with combat gear.

The aircraft are about 18 years old but have undergone several upgrades to be fully functional, said Guard spokesman Chief Warrant Officer Skip Hutto.

Program for autistic will lose its funding

COLUMBIA - A program that teaches autistic children at public schools will lose more than $1 million in Medicaid funding at the end of the year.

The state Department of Health and Human Services said it will provide enough funding to get programs through the end of the school year, but schools then will have to come up with other ways to pay for the programs.

About 40 school districts are reimbursed by Medicaid for applied behavioral therapy, which breaks learning down into tasks. About 3,000 children participate in the programs.

Medicaid will no longer pay for the program because it teaches new skills instead of lost skills, is limited to children with autism and is offered only in schools, according to a memorandum from the state Health and Human Services Department.

The agency has suggested schools try to get funding under the federal Individuals With Disabilities Education Improvement Act. Some educators say that's not enough to cover the programs.