Dr. Craig Samitt, who has been the CEO of Eagan-based Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota for almost three years, is retiring, the company said Wednesday.

Kathleen Blatz, former chief justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court, will be the interim CEO starting April 1. She also served as the company's interim president and CEO before Samitt's appointment and has served on the company's board of trustees for more than a decade.

Samitt's retirement is effective May 3. He previously was executive vice president and chief clinical officer at Indianapolis-based Anthem.

"The board of trustees is grateful for Dr. Craig Samitt's leadership during the past three years, and we wish him well in his retirement," said Michael Robinson, board chairman. "Dr. Samitt's vision to reinvent health care is the blueprint for the future of Blue Cross in Minnesota, and we believe it can serve as a national model for health and wellness."

Under Samitt, the insurer committed to covering all in-network COVID-19 treatment, including office visits and hospitalizations, at no cost to its members. In 2020, the company temporarily expanded virtual care coverage benefits. Earlier this year, it announced it would extend virtual care benefits through 2021.

In May 2020, Moody's revised its Blue Cross outlook to stable from negative, but downgraded its financial strength and debt ratings by a notch based on declines in membership and weak EBITDA margins, a report shows.

About 2.5 million people have benefits via Blue Cross, which reported an operating loss of $55 million on $13.3 billion in total revenue for 2019. It is the state's largest nonprofit insurer.

Nick Williams • 612-673-4021