DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – Gov. Rick Snyder has signed legislation overhauling Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.

The bills let the state’s largest health insurer transform into a customer-owned nonprofit and ends its tax-exempt status. The Republican governor signed the legislation early Monday at a meeting of the company’s board of directors in Detroit.

Supporters say the insurer must be modernized as it prepares for the federal health law and to participate in an online exchange where the uninsured can shop for insurance.

On hand for the signing was BCBS of Michigan President and CEO Dan Loepp.

“In this new world of the Affordable Care Act we’ll pay our fair share of taxes and I believe we’ll grow as a business,” said Loepp. “There is a lot of work to do, but this bill gives us the tools to do that — and I think we have a terrific, terrific opportunity.”

Snyder said the old law under which BCBS operated made it very difficult for the insurer to be as efficient and effective as they could be in the marketplace.

Loepp said the change will speed of the rate and product filing process.

Critics say the bills are bad news for senors because subsidies for their supplemental Medicare policies will eventually end. As part of the overhaul, Blue Cross will contribute nearly $1.6 billion over 18 years to an endowment working to improve public health and health care access.

Snyder signed the bill on his way to a jobs summit at Detroit’s Cobo Center. (More on this here).

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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