LANSING (WWJ) – Gov. Rick Snyder is calling for an overhaul in how Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, the state’s largest health insurance provider, is regulated.
Snyder wants Blue Cross to become a non-profit mutual insurance company and contribute money to a new entity that would provide better access to care. He also wants BCBSM to be regulated by the state insurance code. Since 1980, it’s been exempt due to Public Act 350, which made it Michigan’s insurer of last resort.
“Blue Cross has long advocated for all health insurers to play by the same rules,” said Daniel J. Loepp, BCBSM president and CEO, in a statement. “This plan is not exactly what Blue Cross would have proposed, but it does create a fair and balanced set of rules for health insurance. Regulations should be fair to all.
“They should protect consumers, expand choice and competition and preserve an insurance safety net people can count on. Our board is open to considering this proposal because it preserves Blue Cross’ nonprofit mission and sets Michigan’s insurance market up for success in the future,” Loepp said.
In addition to transitioning to a nonprofit mutual insurance company structure, officials say BCBSM would evolve its traditional “social mission” by funding a new nonprofit entity to be created by the state with contributions totaling approximately $1.5 billion, payable in installments over the next 18 years. The nonprofit would be governed by its own board, which would include the Michigan Attorney General. The board would be supported by a large and diverse advisory council comprised of community stakeholders. The nonprofit would use BCBSM contributions to fund programs to improve health care in Michigan and keep it affordable.
“We are pleased that the Governor respects Blue Cross’ desire to remain nonprofit and continue our longstanding efforts to advance quality and affordable health care for all Michiganders,” Loepp said. “Blue Cross will remain based in Michigan, invested in our communities and focused on improving health care for everyone who calls Michigan home.”