The Arizona Department of Insurance is giving an additional grace period to people holding health insurance policies that were canceled under the Affordable Care Act.

Thousands of plans were canceled last year because they did not meet terms of the Affordable Care Act and policyholders received letters saying they needed to find a new plan. But after an outcry, President Obama said that those policyholders could keep those plans for an extra year. State officials are upping that transition period to two years.

Insurers that renewed existing plans that would otherwise have been modified or canceled under the new health law on or before Dec. 31 may now renew those policies for an extra year, state officials say. The policies can be effective through 2015 but not into 2016.

The Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight on March 5 issued a bulletin addressing the extended transition of these policies and left the decision to the states whether or not to adopt the extension.

State officials issued a news release last week saying that listening to insurers who want to continue offering these plans and to consumers who wish to be able to keep them led to the Arizona Department of Insurance decision.

“Ensuring that Arizona’s consumer have choice in the insurance market and encouraging insurers to provide that choice, when appropriate, is consistent with the Department of Insurance’s mission,” the release says.

As before, the department will not compel any carrier to renew the early renewed policies. Carriers will assist policyholders who choose not to keep these policies with finding alternative affordable coverage.