Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan begins transition process following Gov. Snyder’s signature on health insurance reform legislation
BCBSM will undertake yearlong transition to become a nonprofit mutual insurer
March 18, 2013
DETROIT – Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan commended Gov. Rick Snyder today for signing bipartisan reform measures modernizing the regulation of Michigan’s health insurance market. The law enables the company’s board of directors and management to undertake a process of transitioning BCBSM’s structure to become a nonprofit mutual insurer.
The Governor signed Senate Bills 61 and 62, which were passed earlier this year with overwhelming majorities in the House and Senate. The reform moves Blue Cross under consistent guidelines with other insurers and sustains BCBSM’s nonprofit social mission through contributions of $1.56 billion from BCBSM over 18 years to a new nonprofit foundation established by the law. Michigan’s new fair and balanced regulatory system is critical as the health insurance industry undergoes significant transformation brought about by federal health reform.
"Today begins a process that will lead Blue Cross into a new era of service to our customers, our stakeholders and our state," said Daniel J. Loepp, BCBSM president and CEO. "Our board and management, working together, will transition our company’s structure without compromising its character. Blue Cross will remain nonprofit, focused on serving our customers and committed to leading Michigan to a healthier future.
"We at Blue Cross take our nearly 75-year heritage very seriously," Loepp said. "Changes in how we are regulated will not change our company’s character or commitment to Michigan. Our customers can rest assured that the coverage they have today will remain in place during this transition. The people of Michigan can continue to count on the Blues being based here, operating here as a nonprofit and contributing substantially to improving health care and the health of all Michiganders."
BCBSM’s nonprofit status, member health care benefits, its physician and hospital networks, and the partnerships it has in place with medical providers to improve health care quality will not change due to its transition to a mutual company.
BCBSM expects to receive board approval on transition process steps in the summer months. The transition process will include forming a new nonprofit mutual insurance company by filing articles of incorporation, submitting a plan of merger for regulatory approval and merging BCBSM into the new nonprofit mutual structure for an effective date of Jan. 1, 2014.
The company will identify operational changes necessary to conform to Michigan Insurance Code regulations and implement process, policy and procedure changes over the course of 2013. The company will maintain ongoing communication with stakeholders to advise them of the impact of required changes.
"Changes required to become a mutual insurance company will be small in scope compared to the changes we have been and will be implementing to conform to the federal health reform law," Loepp said. "Federal health reform is impacting every aspect of our industry and will continue to be the driving force behind changes our customers and stakeholders will experience throughout 2013 and 2014. Blue Cross will be ready to lead this change, thanks in no small measure to the vision of Gov. Snyder for modernizing our regulatory system here in Michigan. We salute the governor for this landmark legislative achievement and applaud the Michigan House and Senate for working diligently to complete work early this year."