Approximately 144,000 South Carolinians who faced canceled health insurance coverage next year because of the Affordable Care Act will have the option to renew those policies for one more year, the S.C. Department of Insurance director said Tuesday.

Nine insurance companies that offer individual plans and six companies that offer small group plans told the department they have decided to offer the policies for another year, even though many don’t cover all the essential benefits that the new federal law requires.

Department of Insurance Director Ray Farmer would not disclose the names of the companies that will participate in the “transition program” because the department is still reviewing their filings.

He said 14 small-to-medium-sized insurance companies will not allow their South Carolina customers to renew these non-compliant policies. This will impact about 53,000 residents, he said.

Insurance companies were required to let the department know by Dec. 2 if they would offer up these policies for renewal.

On Tuesday, Farmer said that deadline is flexible.

“We’re going to help our companies help our citizens,” Farmer said. “I can’t stress enough how fluid this all is.”

BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina, the largest private health insurance company in the state, confirmed Tuesday that it would allow customers to renew the policies that were scheduled to be canceled.

“Allowing our non-grandfathered members the option of renewing their existing plans for one year is the right thing to do. The additional choice supports our members by giving them more time to prepare for ACA-related changes in the marketplace,” said David Pankau, BlueCross BlueShield president and CEO, in a prepared statement.

A company spokeswoman would not disclose how many BlueCross BlueShield customers will be affected by this decision.

Technically, non-grandfathered plans do not comply with the Affordable Care Act because they don’t offer many of the essential benefits that the federal law requires. The Obama administration decided last month that these plans could be renewed for another year.

The S.C. Department of Insurance estimated last month that 150,000 residents in this state would lose their individual or small group policies because of the federal law.

Reach Lauren Sausser at 937-5598.