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
Minneapolis police are investigating a death in the 900 block of SE. 15th Avenue.

Mpls. police: Man found amid chaotic scene at Como apartment dies at HCMC

A woman taken to detox from an apartment in the city's Como neighborhood has been arrested on suspicion of murder.

Hazelden Betty Ford looks to expand in California

The addiction treatment provider is planning a $30 million construction project.
A new report finds that operating margins slipped a bit in 2018 for hospitals in Minnesota, a finding that a trade group says highlights financial cha

Minnesota hospitals under more financial pressure, report says

Gap between Minnesota's urban and rural hospitals narrowed in most recent period.
Allina Health System operates more than 90 clinics, 11 hospitals and a number of specialty care centers.

Clinic consolidation continues as Allina Health buys Apple Valley Medical Clinic

As costs rise, smaller practices find they need support of partnerships.

Twin Cities addiction counselor Takashi Yoshino dies at age 71

He led hundreds of clients toward recovery through decades of work at chemical dependency treatment centers in the Twin Cities.
HealthPartners headquarters in Bloomington. (Provided photo.)

Union workers at HealthPartners plan strike vote

About 1,800 unionized workers at HealthPartners are set to take a strike vote this week, union officials said Monday, after negotiations on a new contract…
Dr. Marty Makary said of the health care system, “People have a right to be angry. … We have a pricing crisis and we have clinical and administrat

One doctor's cure for the cost of U.S. health care

When regional health improvement groups met in Minneapolis for an October summit, Dr. Marty Makary presented a powerful set of slides explaining how 48% of…
Omar Ishrak, chairman and chief executive of Medtronic.

Medtronic CEO Omar Ishrak named chairman of Intel's board

Omar Ishrak is scheduled to retire from the medical device manufacturer in April.
Mayo’s former CEO Dr. John Noseworthy received pay of $3.5 million in 2018. Mayo paid excise tax on his and four others’ pay.

Health care groups pay tax on CEO pay

Three large Minnesota nonprofits collectively paid more than $1.6 million.
UnitedHealth Group reported a profit gain of 16% for the last three months of 2019.

UnitedHealth shares rise after Q4 profit beats expectations

UnitedHealth Group's data division and growth in its insurance business for Medicare beneficiaries drove a better-than-expected jump in fourth-quarter profit at Minnesota's largest company.The company's…
Minnesota nonprofit hospitals in tug-of-war with insurers over efforts to rein in costs

Minnesota nonprofit hospitals in tug-of-war with insurers over efforts to rein in costs

Hospitals, insurer clash on "site of service" rules.
Allina Health will built two free-standing surgery centers in a partnership with Optum.

Allina partners with Optum on surgery centers

The lower-cost alternatives to hospitals will be part of a partnership with Optum.
Mike Mikan is president and vice chairman of Bright Health.

Bright Health buying health plan in California

The transaction spotlights the company's push for more Medicare business.
The MNsure call center in St. Paul is shown in this file photo.

MNsure says health insurance plan signups decline by 5%

Nationwide, fewer turn to public health insurance exchanges in briefer open enrollment.
The main entrance of Renville County Hospital and Clinics in Olivia. ] LEILA NAVIDI • BACKGROUND INFORMATION: Renville

Renville County Hospital plans to merge with HealthPartners

Renville County Hospital & Clinics in west-central Minnesota is to become part of the Bloomington-based nonprofit in 2020.
Bright Health raises additional $635 million for expansion

Bright Health raises additional $635 million for expansion

Total equity financing for the Minneapolis-based startup health insurer now exceeds $1 billion.
HealthPartners headquarters in Bloomington.

HealthPartners closing home care unit, cutting 70 jobs

About 70 jobs will be cut in HealthPartners' third set of layoffs in six weeks.
UnitedHealth Group's Optum unit acquired Diplomat Pharmacy, a Michigan-based specialty pharmacy business, for about $300 million plus the assumption o

UnitedHealth's Optum pays $300 million for infusion-specialist firm

Deal is the latest in series to expand services offered by OptumRx.
Dr. John Halamka has been named president of Mayo Clinic Platform. He will join Mayo Clinic Jan. 1, 2020.

Mayo Clinic calls up physician from the farm for 'platform' project

Dr. John Halamka and his wife, Kathy, currently run Unity Farm, an animal sanctuary in suburban Boston that includes 30 acres of agricultural production plus a cidery and winery.
Mayo Clinic Health System is closing its hospital in Springfield, Minn.

Mayo Clinic closing hospital, clinics in southwest Minnesota

Clinic cites difficulties with attracting patients and doctors to Springfield's medical center.
UnitedHealth Group is projecting revenue growth to pick up a bit next year paced by its Optum division for health care services.

UnitedHealth Group touts Optum effect on its corporate growth

Growth comes as health care giant diversifies beyond its core health insurance business.
Sanford Health headquarters in Sioux Falls.

Sanford Health merger to create six-state network falls apart

Deal with Iowa provider would have created a six-state network.
St. Francis Medical Center in Shakopee is spending about $44 million to build a surgery center while expanding its emergency room and cancer center.

Shakopee hospital spends $44 million to expand ER, build surgery center

St. Francis Regional Medical Center cites patient demand and changing payments from health insurers.
UnitedHealth Group headquarters sin Minnetonka.

UnitedHealthcare opening centers in Walgreens stores

A dozen Walgreens stores to offer UnitedHealthcare options, wellness visits.
Since open enrollment begin in October, counselors say they have seen a number of errors regarding price.

Minnesota groups report errors in Medicare website

Planning-tool glitches, pricing mistakes found.
Dr. Kurt Amplatz, pioneer and revolutionary inventor in interventional radiology and cardiology, has died at age 95.

Dr. Kurt Amplatz, pioneering Minnesota inventor of treatment tools, dies at 95

Doctors say the "occlusion" devices exemplify the pioneering role Amplatz played in developing a new approach to treating heart ailments.
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.