BOISE -- As many as 48,000 people with individual and small-group insurance plans from Regence Blue Shield of Idaho can keep them for another year, a reprieve from the initial requirement under President Barack Obama's health care overhaul that they be canceled.

Regence made the announcement Friday, saying the non-profit insurer is trying to maximize its members' options amid the shifting health insurance landscape created by Obama's 2010 law.

Amid criticism last month, President Obama said he'd allow insurance companies to keep selling old plans to people for another year, even if the coverage didn't meet requirements of the disputed overhaul.

States had final say, however, and Idaho Gov. C.L. Butch Otter left the decision up to the state's insurers, saying he wasn't going to tell them how to run their businesses.

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