Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has proposed a sweeping overhaul of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Michigan, that includes ending the nonprofit health insurer's tax exempt status.
Snyder said Tuesday that he seeks to "level the playing field" for insurers and modernize Michigan's insurer of last resort that serves 4.4 million residents.
The plan would require Blue Cross to contribute about $1.5 billion over 18 years to a nonprofit entity aimed at improving public health and health care access. It would pay about $100 million in taxes.
"This is an exciting opportunity to improve the health of Michiganders and create a modernized, efficient health care marketplace that spurs innovation and streamlines outdated regulations," Snyder said. "It's especially important that we have a system that promotes wellness for our children and seniors. This proposal will ensure that quality health care remains affordable and accessible for everyone."
Snyder's plan, which requires approval by the Legislature and the Blue Cross board of directors, follows his call in last year's Special Message to the Legislature on Health and Wellness to reinvent health care in Michigan so it can be a positive economic driver of the state's ongoing recovery.
With 4.4 million Michigan subscribers, Blue Cross Blue Shield is the state's largest health insurance provider. Blue Cross officials say it's "not exactly" what it would have proposed but it creates a "fair and balanced set of rules of health insurance."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.