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
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 * gstubbe@startribune.com) 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.

UnitedHealth Group expands prescription drug discount program

The move comes as the Trump administration has proposed eliminating rebates to pharmaceutical benefit managers.
The Minnesota Health Action Group has developed a guide to help employers manage drug costs and increase price transparency.

Minnesota employers target high medication prices with 'playbook'

Free guide aims to help employers manage costs, increase transparency.

Mayo Clinic going slow on potential clinic in Hudson, Wis.

One year after the city granted a zoning request, Mayo has "no plans" right now to build in Hudson, an official said.
A federal judge ruled that UnitedHealth's behavioral health unit adopted coverage guidelines that did not reflect general standards of care. UnitedHea

Judge calls UnitedHealth coverage guidelines 'tainted'

Ruling highlights financial incentives in coverage criteria.
Mayo Clinic's outlying system of hospitals and clinics saw earnings improve. (Ken Wolter/Dreamstime/TNS)

Mayo's outlying hospitals, clinics see earnings jump

The margins at Mayo Clinic Health System remain lower than at the clinic's Rochester headquarters.
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison

More twists with Frontier as Minn. AG's office opens another inquiry

The company told regulators that it is improving service and mediating customer concerns.
The U.S. Medicare Handbook is photographed Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018, in Washington.

Deadline arrives Monday for 300,000 Minnesotans forced from Medicare Cost

The 300,000 Minnesotans who lost Cost plans have a few days left to bypass health scrutiny.
“The long-term outlook shows big financial challenges ahead for individuals, employers and government,” Minnesota Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm

Health care costs in Minn. projected to grow by 7.4% a year for years to come

State report says potential cost surge brings sustainability concerns.
Optum is UnitedHealth Group's subsidiary for health care services.

UnitedHealth Group denied restraining order over executive's departure

Optum sought to prevent a former executive from joining a new health care startup.
UnitedHealthcare gets HMO license in Minnesota

UnitedHealthcare gets HMO license in Minnesota

The Minnetonka-based insurer is now the first for-profit HMO in state history.
Mayo Clinic's Gonda Building. With about 65,000 employees overall, Mayo operates hospitals and clinics in five states. Last year, the clinic treated m

Mayo Clinic income steady despite health record costs

The state's largest employer slowed down scheduled services during a computer upgrade.
UnitedHealth Group Inc.’s campus in Minnetonka.

UnitedHealthcare will stop sharing data with research group

The Health Care Cost Institute has helped researchers use data from United and other national health insurers to study spiking insulin costs, hysterectomy trends and the market power of hospitals.
Dr. John Noseworthy, the retired CEO of Mayo Clinic, is joining the board of UnitedHealth Group.

UnitedHealth Group names former Mayo CEO Noseworthy to board of directors

Former Mayo Clinic CEO recently retired after nine years of leadership there.
Aware Asset Management is the latest attempt by the parent company of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota to diversify beyond health insurance.

Blue Cross Blue Shield parent diversifies with asset management

The parent of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota is continuing its push for revenue through diversification.
.

UnitedHealthcare policy on insulin pumps called 'unacceptable'

A diabetes group say the nation's largest health insurer is limiting insulin pump choices for children.
Optum's headquarters in Eden Prairie.

Eden Prairie-based Optum awarded contracts for veterans health

The seven-year deal comes as the debate continues over the role of private care providers for veterans.
New research from the University of Minnesota shows new coverage options under the federal Affordable Care Act did not hasten the decline of employer-

University of Minnesota study finds ACA didn't shrink employer health coverage

The study says Medicaid expansion didn't prompt exodus of employers from health coverage.
Dr. Jeffrey Yue

Mercy Hospital anesthesiologist Dr. Jeffrey Yue dies at 59

Dr. Jeffrey Yue wasn’t a smoker. Trim and fit in his 50s, Yue was a triathlete whose interests stretched from cycling to hunting and fishing.…
Optum's headquarters in Eden Prairie.

UnitedHealth unit Optum sues over exec's departure to Bezos-Buffett startup

The company alleges former employee took trade secrets to health startup launched by Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffett and Jamie Dimon.
The U.S. Medicare Handbook is photographed Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018, in Washington. Federal law forced an unusually large number of Medicare beneficiari

Medicare Advantage signups jump by 200,000

Seniors still have options over next several weeks if they find new plans too limited.
MNsure has signed up more people this year than last.

MNsure sign-ups rise slightly, bucking national trend

Premiums declined while the enrollment grew for a fifth consecutive year.
The Optum unit of UnitedHealth Group passed a revenue milestone in 2018, crossing $100 billion. If it were a standalone company, it would be Minnesota

UnitedHealth grows Medicare business by 400,000

Health care giant expects more than 400,000 enrollees in its Medicare Advantage plans.

Twin Cities employers dabble with tighter health care networks

Insurers let consumers trade broad access to doctors for lower premiums.

MNsure defies health plan sign-up decline

Enrollment is down on federal health insurance exchange.
Instructors Jodi Sussner, standing, and Kim Waters demonstrated a pose from a Wellbeats video class in chair yoga that was released in 2016.

Wellbeats is aiming its fitness videos at the workplace

After years of selling to health clubs and the military, the St. Louis Park-based firm turns to employers as a target audience.
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