Former president and CEO of BCBS of Louisiana CEO dies

Howard Reitz, past president and CEO of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana and father of the company's current president, died this week at home surrounded by his family.

Mr. Reitz was president of Cincinnati Blue Cross in Ohio from 1946 to 1953. During that time, Jeb Stuart, then president of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, asked Mr. Reitz to travel the U.S. and visit several other Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans. Mr. Stuart sent Mr. Reitz to Louisiana to meet with Tom Bennett, then president of Blue Cross of Louisiana. Mr. Bennett later asked Mr. Reitz to head his marketing department.

Mr. Reitz, who had served as a pilot in the Korean War, was appointed president and CEO of the company when Mr. Bennett retired in 1967.

In 1975, eight years into Mr. Reitz's 17-year tenure as CEO, Blue Cross of Baton Rouge and Blue Cross of Greater New Orleans consolidated to form a statewide plan—Louisiana Health Service & Indemnity Co., doing business as Blue Cross of Louisiana. The merger more than doubled the company's business and brought it national accounts.  On Jan. 1, 1985, the company began doing business as Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana.

"My dad was president of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana during an amazing time for this company. He helped to build it from 50,000 members to nearly one million," current President and CEO Mike Reitz, who started working for the company as a teenager during his father's tenure, said in a news release. "He was also a great man and a great dad. My family will miss him very much."


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