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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- Some of the nearly 475,000 North Carolina residents whose health insurance policies were canceled by their companies for not meeting new federal coverage standards may get to keep the policies.

White House officials said Thursday a letter going to state insurance commissioners will specify that current plans will not be considered out of compliance with the federal health insurance law next year. State regulators and insurance companies must now decide.

North Carolina's Insurance Department says 21 companies terminated 184,000 policies by late October.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina issued nearly 152,000 cancellations, followed by 20,000 by Coventry Health and nearly 4,500 by Aetna, which bought Coventry.

A Blue Cross spokesman says it's too soon to say what the insurer will do. Aetna had no immediate comment.

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