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
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.

California high court won't review $91M fine against UnitedHealthcare

A lower court in 2018 backed a state regulator's fine against the Minnetonka-based health insurer over claims violations.
UCare sent letters to about 21,000 Minnesotans that listed erroneous premium prices.

UCare letters to 21,000 people list wrong premium price

Health insurer says the mistake is being corrected, no customers overpaid.
Dr. John Noseworthy, the CEO of Mayo Clinic, is retiring at year's end.

Retiring Mayo CEO reflects on triumphs, tensions at Minnesota's largest employer

Dr. John Noseworthy is retiring at year's end after nine years running one of the state's flagship businesses.
The Mayo family heirlooms include a rocking horse created decades ago by the Mayo family’s handyman as a gift to the Mayo children. The horse was am

Yes, Mayo Clinic receives gifts. In 2017, nearly $34 million's worth

Donations of stock and family heirlooms contributed to a $33.8 million haul last year.
One of two new ambulance rigs at Children's Minnesota are part of the hospital's push to transport more pediatric patients between hospitals across th

Regulators grant limited ambulance license to Children's Minnesota

The hospital's push for a statewide licensed was opposed by other hospitals.
FILE - In this March 12, 2018, file photo, Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson speaks during an interview at the Capitol in St. Paul.

Minnesota AG Swanson seeks law on for-profit health plan deals

She cautioned that billions of dollars in health care assets could be in play.
FILE - This Oct. 16, 2012, file photo, shows a portion of the UnitedHealth Group Inc.'s campus in Minnetonka, Minn.

UnitedHealth Group will pay $500M less for Colorado-based physicians group

The $4.34B deal would boost the clinic business for the Minnetonka firm.
In this Oct. 26, 2017, photo, a woman walks past the Briva Health enrollment office for MNsure, Minnesota's insurance marketplace, in Minneapolis.

MNsure says sign-ups hit 113,000

ACA troubles didn't seem to dampen activity on state's health exchange.
UnitedHealthcare bus ad.

Competition heats up as nonprofit health insurers take on for-profit giants in Minn.

Two for-profit insurers are making a play for business in a state known for nonprofit health plans

MNsure says lower premiums may be boosting sign-ups

The state's enrollment numbers are bucking the national trend.
One of two new ambulance rigs at Children's Minnesota are part of the hospital's push to transport more pediatric patients between hospitals across th

Judge backs statewide ambulance license for Children's

State EMS regulators will take up an issue this month that's divided hospitals.
The U.S. Medicare Handbook

For 300,000-plus in Minnesota, Friday Medicare deadline doesn't apply

Those losing Cost plans will have more time to make choices.
The Minnesota State Capitol

Federal government reduces estimate for Minnesota's reinsurance funding

Minnesota lawmakers are alarmed by the move, which means $100 million less in 2020 and beyond.

Minnesota among states suing over health data hack

Hackers accessed health records of more than 8,000 people in state in 2015 incident, suit says.
UnitedHealth Group headquarters in Minnetonka. UnitedHealth Group has entered a race involving some of the nation’s biggest technology companies to

UnitedHealth takes aim at health records

Nation's largest insurer makes moves in a market crowded by startups and large tech firms.
Bright Health co-founders, from left to right: Bob Sheehy, CEO; Tom Valdivia, Chief Medical Officer; and Kyle Rolfing, President

Insurer Bright Health raises $200 million to finance expansion

The Minneapolis-based startup is selling Medicare health plans and individual health insurance coverage.
UnitedHealth Group is buying Polyclinic in Seattle, another step in a drive to provide direct care to consumers.

UnitedHealth Group buying Seattle clinic

The acquisition adds to company's growing reach in direct patient care.
St. Cloud Hospital, courtesy of CentraCare

CentraCare adding Redwood Falls hospital

The deal is the latest expanding the size and scope of St. Cloud-based health system.
The U.S. Medicare Handbook is photographed Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018, in Washington. Seniors in many states will be able to get additional services like

Loss of Medicare Cost plans comes with co-pay dilemma

Replacement coverage presents trade-offs, insurance shoppers are finding out.
Arnold Aronson

Arnold Aronson, Mayo Clinic speech pathology researcher, dies at 90

In 36 years of work at the Mayo Clinic, he treated patients, mentored students and led research that made him an authority in his field.
Compared to last year at this point, MNsure has seen roughly half the amount of new enrollees.

Medicare traffic slows new MNsure sign-ups

Brokers who help enrollees have been busy with big Medicare Cost plan changes.
The U.S. Medicare Handbook

'Change is very alarming' for some as insurers take a new approach to Medicare incentives

Lures put out as changes loom for hundreds of thousands of recipients.
Members of the Peterson family, who operate Far-Gaze Farms, worked harvesting corn on one of their fields, this one 142 acres, Friday, Oct. 9, 2015,ne

Farmer health plans expect growth

In their second year, more enrollees forecast despite likely increase in premiums.
Health plan enrollment for 2019 began smoothly Thursday for MNsure, the state's health insurance exchange.

MNsure says health plan open enrollment launch goes 'smoothly'

After years of stressful starts, enrollment had a solid early run Thursday.
Open enrollment for Medicare health plans started Oct. 15 and runs through Dec. 7.

State regulators warning of deceptive Medicare offers

More than 300,000 Minnesotans are looking for new health plans.
Doctor with a patient at Open Cities Medical Center.

Minn. employer health costs rise 5 percent, with small businesses feeling squeezed

Employer-sponsored health plans in Minnesota are reporting a 5 percent increase in benefit costs for active employees, according to survey results released Tuesday, as small employers nationally say they are feeling more cost pressures.

Medicare shift tightens doctor, clinic networks in Minnesota

Shifting premiums, out-of-pocket costs, tighter provider list are contributing to a tough open-enrollment season.
This Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2012, file photo, shows a portion of the UnitedHealth Group Inc.'s campus in Minnetonka.

UnitedHealth Group predicts Medicare growth

The comments came as the insurer beat profit expectations for Q3.
Federal law is forcing health insurers next year to eliminate Medicare Cost plans across 66 counties in Minnesota.

Insurers target seniors with shifting Medicare options

New plans in mix as more than 300,000 Minnesota seniors seek new coverage.

Small business premiums grow more slowly

Rates for state's small employers are rising by less than in 2018.

Cost of family health coverage nears $20,000 in U.S.

An annual survey on employer-sponsored health insurance found continued growth in deductibles, premiums.

Health insurance premium rates in Minn. drop for individuals, rise for small firms

But many still find health insurance costs too high.
More than 250,000 Minnesotans will need to find new Medicare coverage in coming weeks.

Medicare shoppers offered plans with $0 premiums, but read the fine print

Consumers must read fine print to check shared costs.
Looking forward: Dr. Craig Samitt became the new CEO at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota this summer.

Choppy waters confront new Blue Cross CEO

Dr. Craig Samitt says Minnesota insurer will bank on its brand in competing with for-profits.
Optum is joining a group of investors backing an Iowa-based startup firm that is using artificial intelligence in a medical diagnosis.

Optum Ventures backs startup that uses AI to aid in medical diagnosis

Company joining in effort to raise $33 million.
Images of the St. Paul campus of the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation treatment center.

Hazelden plans to open clinic in Seattle area

With new facility, Center City addiction treatment provider will operate in 10 states.

Court rules against UnitedHealth Group on California fines

State regulator says ruling paves way for $91M fine; insurer says it will appeal.
Andy Slavitt, who also was the Medicare chief during the Obama administration, launched Town Hall Ventures in May.

Town Hall Ventures health care fund raises $115 million

It targets startups serving vulnerable populations.
Mayo plans to add 11 stories to the Gonda building on its main campus in Rochester.

Mayo expansion would create Rochester's tallest building

With 11 new floors for patient care and hotel, Gonda Building would be the city's tallest.
Medicare written on a blackboard in white chalk with a doctor using a stethoscope to check up.

Many Minnesota seniors bracing for seismic Medicare shift

An estimated 320,000 Minnesotans with Medicare Cost health plans must switch to a new policy because a federal law is eliminating the coverage next year across much of the state.

Medica and Mayo partner on new health plans

Minnetonka-based insurer to offer access to clinic as it courts business.
Fairview Health Services runs Fairview Southdale hospital in Edina.

Rating agencies split on Fairview's outlook

In a separate action, one agency lowered the rating for Duluth-based Essentia Health.
Judge rules for UnitedHealthcare in Medicare overpayment case

Judge rules for UnitedHealthcare in Medicare overpayment case

Federal judge vacated rule on reimbursements for overpayments to insurers.
The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said Blue Cross provided the government with bad information, which explains why CMS sent about

38,000-plus Blue Cross enrollees get termination notices by mistake

The federal government says it sent the letters after getting bad information from the health insurer.
Scanlan Eiynck

Surgical instruments developer Brigid Ann Scanlan Eiynck dies at age 69

Eiynck started working in the family business in the 1970s, eventually collaborating with physicians to develop tools used in surgeries of the heart and chest.
Seward Co-op workers and allies walked past the Co-op Creamery to Seward Co-op offices in 2017, shortly after they voted to unionize.

Workers at Seward Co-op ratify first contract

Workers at the retail food co-op voted to unionize in 2017.
“This is a microcosm of the hospital,” said Dr. David Hirschman, medical director of the critical-care transport program at Children’s Minnesota

Children's request for statewide ambulance license alarms EMS providers

Pediatric hospital wants a statewide license, but other providers see a threat.

Fairview senior executive M. Osman Akhtar to depart

COO M. Osman Akhtar's departure gives Laura Reed more responsibilities.
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