Staff Directory 277764631

Christopher Snowbeck

Reporter | Business
Location: Minneapolis
Other languages: None

Christopher Snowbeck covers health insurers, including Minnetonka-based UnitedHealth Group, and the business of running hospitals and clinics. 

Since 1994, Snowbeck has covered health care stories at four newspapers including the St. Paul Pioneer Press, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the Daily Progress of Charlottesville, Va. He lives in St. Paul with his wife, two daughters and two cats. He graduated from Carleton College as a history major with a concentration in medieval studies. He serves on the board of directors for the Minnesota Society of Professional Journalists. He's also a runner.
Recent content from Christopher Snowbeck
HealthPartners headquarters in Bloomington. Provided photo.

HealthPartners cutting 75 jobs on diminished Medicare revenue

A federal mandate eliminating Medicare Cost plans has hurt revenue.
Andrew Witty was named president of UnitedHealth Group.

UnitedHealth Group names Optum CEO as president

Former Glaxo­SmithKline exec Andrew Witty will have both jobs as he ascends closer to top.
Filled prescriptions zipped down an automated conveyor belt at the Health Partners prescription-filling facility in Eden Prairie.

HealthPartners closing pharmacies and cutting 300 jobs

HealthPartners says it's due to economic pressures that give an advantage to larger operators in the industry.
UnitedHealthcare, the nation's largest health insurere, is paying a penalty over allegations it violated state and federal laws when paying medical cl

UnitedHealthcare assessed $1 million penalty for claims payment violations

Pennsylvania regulators say insurer violated state, federal laws on medical claims.
Doctor giving a prescription to his patient in medical office. istock photo

Minnesota trade groups offering new health plans

Despite rules suspension, associations venturing in.
New York regulators said the research showed an Optum data analytics program "significantly underestimates health needs for black patients."

Regulators probe racial bias with UnitedHealth algorithm

Regulators says racial bias in algorithm leads to poorer care for black patients; UnitedHealth defends product.
Minnesota employers see 4% health cost increases

Minnesota employers see 4% health cost increases

A survey puts the average at $12,850 per worker in 2019, with 4.4% higher costs expected in 2020.

Minn. study: Truckers saw offsetting savings with sleep apnea treatment

University of Minnesota Morris researchers documented savings that helped offset costs of a sleep apnea treatment program
The Official U.S. Medicare Handbook, Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018. Fall enrollment for Meidcare is now open.(Dreamstime/TNS) ORG XMIT: MIN1910041437424240

Medicare health plans adding more counties in Minnesota, U.S.

Insurers that sell Medicare Advantage health plans are pushing to extend the coverage into hundreds of new counties across the country next year, a competitive…
A portion of the UnitedHealth Group Inc.'s campus in Minnetonka

UnitedHealthcare plan faces Medicare sanction

Minnetonka-based insurer says one of its health plans fell out of compliance with Medicare.
A portion of the UnitedHealth Group Inc.'s campus in Minnetonka

UnitedHealth Group shares jump 8% on strong earnings, guidance

The company saw its quarterly earnings grow by 11% to $3.5 billion.
Mayo Clinic is opening a facility in London.

Mayo expands global reach by opening clinic in London

The facility is part of a new partnership with Oxford University Clinic.
Shown is the MNsure call center in St. Paul.

MNsure rates holding steady for 2020, a sign of stability for the market

Regulators approved 2020 average premiums that are flat or down slightly.
“Where physicians are acquired by large health care systems or private equity or maybe by insurers, what happens is the physicians lose that autonom

Clinic partnership hopes to invoke a bit of Marcus Welby, M.D.

Infinite Health Collaborative is trying to preserve older ideals of medicine where physicians and patients are independent of larger groups when making decisions, one of its owners says.
Family health plan costs provided by employers will rise another 5% on average next year, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation study.

Average cost of family health plans pushes above $20,000 for first time

The cost of insurance offered through employers keeps rising faster than wages and inflation.

Minnesota Medicare choices expanding for 2020

Premiums will mostly hold steady for Medicare Advantage plans.
Deb Krause, vice president of the Minnesota Health Action Group.

$200K award will help Minn. employers expand mental health programs

The Minnesota Health Action Group will use the award to identify ways to bridge gaps in treatment.
UnitedHealth Group acquired a "payment integrity" firm, reportedly for $3.2 billion.

UnitedHealth Group acquires 'payment integrity' firm

The Minnetonka-based company reportedly paid $3.2 billion for Equian.
Mayo Clinic and Google have formed an IT partnership.

Mayo Clinic picks Google for data storage as firms announce broader partnership

The digital giant will open an office in Rochester for research with Mayo on solving complex health care problems..
Bill Killian, a World War II veteran who developed a popular state park in western Wisconsin, died last month at age 100.

Bill Killian, who led efforts to create Willow River State Park, dies at 100

Wearing his life jacket and a steel helmet, Bill Killian stood on the deck of the USS Roper and watched as a suicide Japanese aircraft…
Startup insurer Bright Health has hired veteran Twin Cities executive Mike Mikan as vice chairman and president of the Minneapolis-based company. (Pro

Minneapolis-based startup Bright Health adds top executives

Mike Mikan will lead a team focused on products, technology and consumers at Bright Health.

Philadelphia insurer eyes a piece of Minnesota's $4 billion Medicaid market

For-profit AmeriHealth Caritas said it is sizing up a large state health insurance contract.
Medica headquarters in Minnetonka.

Medica in running for state public health insurance contract

The HMO dropped out of the largest chunk of Minnesota public health programs in 2017.
HealthPartners will add Allina Health System next year to the network of doctors and hospitals in its Medicare Advantage health plans. ORG XMIT: MIN19

HealthPartners will add Allina in Medicare health plans

HealthPartners adds Allina to its Medicare Advantage plans.
UnitedHealth Group Inc.’s campus in Minnetonka.

UnitedHealth grows in market questioned by critics

Consumer advocates question whether "supplemental" health policies provide good value.
Dr. Gianrico Farrugia, the new president and CEO of Mayo Clinic, puts on a surgical mask to watch a vestibular stenosis repair surgery.

How a doctor from a tiny island rose to be Mayo's new CEO

As health care and technology merge, new chief leads a venerable institution through an industry's crossroads.
UnitedHealth Group's second-quarter profit rose 13%, beating analysts' expectations.

UnitedHealth Group beats expectations, posts a profit of nearly $3.3 billion

Health insurance giant joins nationwide push into health care services.

Body of missing Winona boater reportedly recovered

One boater was rescued Friday night after a report of distress at the Prairie Island spillway.
Rendering of new Shriners clinic in Woodbury. (Provided by Shriners)

Construction starts on Shriners clinic in Woodbury

The nonprofit will sell its Minneapolis hospital as focus changes.
In this Oct. 26, 2017, photo, a woman walks past an enrollment office for MNsure.

Minnesota health insurers seek small rate increases

Average proposed rate changes for individuals range from a decline of 1.4% to a 4.8% increase.
Sanford Health sign near Target Field.

Sanford Health seeks Iowa merger to create $11 billion health system

CEO of the South Dakota-based nonprofit would lead new organization. Sanford Health runs 18 hospitals and 171 clinics in Minnesota.
Abbott Northwestern switching anesthesia service

Abbott Northwestern switching anesthesia service

Abbott Northwestern will start using Minneapolis Anesthesia Partners by mid-2020.

Medicare shift trimmed enrollment for big Minnesota insurers

Medigap gains offset Cost plan declines, but not completely.
UnitedHealth Group Inc.'s campus in Minnetonka.

With retirement, UnitedHealth Group shuffles top executives

Changes are spurred by retirement of Steven Nelson, CEO of the health insurance business. The company provides coverage to more than 43 million people in the U.S.
The MNsure call center in St. Paul is shown in an Oct. 28, 2016 file photo. (Photo by Glen Stubbe * ORG XMIT: MIN170202131251

Flight from health insurance market slows in Minnesota

Health insurance enrollment at 141,110 compared to 300,000 in 2015
Mayo Clinic plans to build a $233 million facility for cancer patients at its Florida hospital that includes “proton beam” radiation, an advanced

Mayo spending $223 million on Florida cancer center

New cancer center will offer advanced, targeted therapies to patients.
North Memorial Health's medical center in Minnetonka.

Blue Cross, North Memorial team up to run health system's 20 clinics

Joint venture will operate the Minnesota health care system's network of 20 facilities.
The Federal Trade Commission called on UnitedHealth Group to divest DaVita’s medical group in Nevada no later than 40 days after the acquisition is

FTC puts limit on $4.3 billion clinic deal for UnitedHealth Group

Acquisition adds more clinics, physicians, but won't include doctors in Nevada.

Administrative costs hit $1.82 billion at health plans in Minnesota

A new state report finds administrative spending by health insurers in Minnesota increased slightly in 2017 to $1.82 billion, a seventh consecutive annual rise that…

Minnesota extends law blocking HMO sales to for-profits

Lawmakers stretched the moratorium on nonprofit conversions to 2023.
Park Nicollet Foundation has received an $18.7 million gift to expand eating disorder care at Melrose Center, which is part of the network of clinics

HealthPartners expanding eating disorder care with $18.7 million gift

Money will expand eating-disorder care.

Fairview Health buys three clinics in western Wisconsin

Acquisition of Vibrant Health boosts competition for patients east of the St. Croix River.
The Gonda Building at the Mayo Clinic.

Mayo Clinic plans research building with $32 million gift

Construction is expected to begin next year with occupancy in 2022.
Lawmakers have agreed to continue a state program for “reinsurance” that’s been credited with helping keep a lid on premiums in the state’s ma

Minnesota extends 'reinsurance' program

More money isn't needed as the initial $542 million allotted for it hasn't been exhausted yet.
Never-ending growth: Medtronic CEO Omar Ishrak guided his firm to the No. 5 spot on the Star Tribune 50 with $30.6 billion in revenue.

Minnesota's largest public health care firms see another record growth year

UnitedHealth and Medtronic set the pace for a half-dozen health firms.

Minnesota part of $900,000 settlement in health data breach

Minnesota attorney general says Indiana company will pay $30,000 to state and change security practices.
The Ridgeview Medical Center in Waconia, where legislation will allow a change in how the hospital uses 20 of its licensed hospital beds.

Thanks to new law, Waconia hospital poised for expansion

New state law lets Ridgeview Medical Center use rehabilitation beds for medical and surgical patients.

Allina-Aetna says its enrollment hits 12,000

The joint-venture firm started providing Medicare coverage this year.

Winter saw chilly demand for health care

Hospitals, clinics reported de­pressed pa­tient volumes in first quar­ter.

HealthPartners revenue hit $7 billion in 2018

Its income dropped as investment returns suffered in a sluggish stock market.
Citing the latest financial results as well as increased competition, analysts with S&P Global Ratings lowered the outlook at Allina Health from “st

Allina Health income drops 42% as legal, consulting costs climb

Rating agencies have split views on the outlook for the Minneapolis-based health system.
HealthPartners is spending $13.5 million on a replacement clinic in Lakeville.

Park Nicollet spending $13.5 million to replace Lakeville clinic

Park Nicollet replacing Lakeville site for $13.5M.
Stephen and DeeDee Tillitt said their son Max had just become a new father when he died by overdose in 2015.

Minnesota family's loss shows stakes in health plan fight

Grieving families hope their lawsuit spurs better mental health coverage.
Mayo Clinic in Rocheste.

Mayo seeking patients from on-site workplace health centers

The health system is the latest in Minnesota to size up the on-site clinic market.
In 2017, protesters gathered across the Chicago River from Trump Tower to rally against the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. Earlier, President Trum

ACA market rebound could lead to $800M in consumer rebates

Political uncertainty didn't stop insurers selling individual coverage from more money last year.
This Jan. 18, 2017, file photo shows a CVS Pharmacy in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)

CVS closes two stores in Minneapolis, one in Brooklyn Park

The Rhode Island-based company announced last week a total of 46 store closings in 16 states.
Hazelden says it is moving forward with a $15 million construction project in Center City to create replacement facilities for patients while relocati

Hazelden has highest-ever patient volumes as more plans provide coverage

More are getting addiction treatment now because of insurance coverage.
Fairview Health Services said its 2018 operating income was steady but forecast a drop in 2019.

Income steady at Fairview Health Services in 2018

They are the first full-year numbers since Fairview took over HealthEast.
Medica CEO John Naylor said expanding to Iowa, Nebraska and Kansas was, “Risky, but it was the right thing to do.”

A big Affordable Care Act bet turns profit for Minnetonka's Medica

Health insurers that weathered the storm are starting to make money.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota cuts 60 jobs in Eagan

The insurer also will cut more than three dozen positions on the Iron Range.
The Minnesota Commerce Department fined a California company for sending misleading marketing letters to 600,000 Minnesotans.

California company fined $50,000 over Medicare marketing in Minnesota

The Commerce Department alleges eHealthInsurance Services Inc. sent "more than 600,000 misleading letters."
Jim Mone • Associated Press
FILE - This Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2012, file photo, shows a portion of the UnitedHealth Group Inc.’s campus in Minnetonka,

UnitedHealth grows digital health business in Minneapolis

Its expanding Rally Health division has rolled out enhanced platform.

UnitedHealth sees big potential for OptumCare health provider business

The nation's largest health insurer touted its network of walk-in clinics while announcing financial results.
UnitedHealth Group's chief executive criticized proposals by Democratic presidential hopefuls to expand the government's Medicare system or take other

UnitedHealth CEO warns against Democrats' push for single-payer health coverage

The company's shares took a hit last week after Sen. Bernie Sanders renewed a push to eliminate private insurers.
Kenneth Paulus ORG XMIT: MIN1411111850054086

Prime Therapeutics hires former Allina chief as CEO

Kenneth Paulus will lead the Eagan based company at a time of heightened scrutiny of PMBs.
Marlene Barghini

Marlene Barghini, who helped create the Bridge For Youth shelter, dies at 86

In 1970, the West Bank in Minneapolis was the Twin Cities version of Haight-Ashbury, the San Francisco neighborhood synonymous with the counterculture of the era.…
Prime Therapeutics Senior Vice President, General Counsel, and Interim President and Chief Executive Officer Mike Kolar, right, testifies before the S

Benefit managers grilled on whether business practices drive up drug prices

Execs from Minn.-based Optum Rx, Prime Therapeutics fielded questions.

Blue Cross income jumps on Medicaid business

The health insurer saw a turnaround in its business managing care for Medicaid beneficiaries.
The Minnesota Council of Health Plans is the trade group for the state’s seven nonprofit insurance companies. The group’s annual financial release

Minn. nonprofit health insurers see operating income soar to $500M

Minnesota's nonprofit insurers could be issuing $37 million in consumer rebates as a result.
Funeral director Scott Maltese with a typical urn and the Cremation Society's crematory at rear. GENERAL INFORMATION: MINNEAPOLIS - 1/16/04 - While cr

Cremation workers could be at risk because of new cancer care

New treatments that target cancer with radioactive drugs are raising questions about whether they create a health risk for workers who cremate the bodies when the patients die.

Last chance for changes: Final Medicare deadline arrives Sunday

Seniors who lost their Cost plans have the weekend to make any changes.

UnitedHealthcare increases housing investments

The nation's largest health insurer says it's providing more than $400 million to finance affordable housing projects.
Rebates to employer groups from Minnetonka-based UnitedHealthcare increased by about 40 percent in 2017, in line with a broader trend.

UnitedHealthcare's rebates to employers jump to $146 million

Rebates to employer groups from Minnetonka-based UnitedHealthcare increased by about 40 percent in 2017, according to a new report, and fit with a broader trend…
Children’s Minnesota includes hospitals in Minneapolis and St. Paul, an outpatient facility in Minnetonka and 10 clinics in the Twin Cities metro. C

Children's Minnesota settles with Minnesota attorney general over marketing allegations

The hospital appointed an antitrust compliance officer as part of agreement struck in November with Lori Swanson.

UnitedHealth part of congressional 'junk' coverage inquiry

House Democrats seek info from 12 large brokers and insurers.