Snyder proposes changes to Blue Cross of Mich.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has proposed overhauling Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Michigan, including ending the nonprofit health insurer's tax exempt status and aligning it with competitors across the state.

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 at improving public health and health care access. It would pay about $100 million in taxes.

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 plan requires approval by the Legislature and Blue Cross' board of directors.

Attorney General Bill Schuette's office, through spokeswoman Joy Yearout, today released the following statement concerning Gov. Snyder's announcement:

"The Attorney General has significant responsibilities under state law to oversee Blue Cross and protect charitable trust assets. Whether your name is Kelley or Schuette, Granholm or Cox, the Attorney General's responsibility to defend seniors and Michigan's most vulnerable is etched in stone. Any proposed conversion of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and its affiliated companies must be approached in the same thoughtful, detailed and transparent way as the recent non-profit to for-profit conversions at the Detroit Medical Center and Marquette General Hospital."

Yearout went on to say this analysis requires a "thorough, complete and independent review of the assets" of Blue Cross and its companies.