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
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.
Images of the St Paul Campus of the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation treatment center.

Hazelden sues websites, alleging misuse of trademark

Suit says name appears on links that have no ties to the Minn. nonprofit.
A Mayo physician is a co-inventor of the Cologuard testing technology, which has been licensed to Exact Sciences from Mayo Clinic.

Big marketing deal for Mayo Clinic-designed test

Pfizer will co-promote colon-cancer screening.
After opening two clinics in retail stores this spring, Allina Health System has plans for four more by March.

Allina to expand its Twin Cities retail clinic network

Analyst says the move fits with broader interest in "value-based care" contracts.

Blue Cross affiliate Stella Development invests in startups

Stella Development has backed two health care companies this year.
Gianrico Farrugia, M.D., CEO-elect, Mayo.

Mayo Clinic names 30-year veteran its next chief executive

Dr. Gianrico Farrugia will replace John Noseworthy, who has led Mayo for nine years.
Optum offices are shown, October 21, 2017 in Winooski, Vt. The healthcare provider is headquartered in Eden Prairie, Minn.

Optum running new clinic for 9/11 survivors

The agreement is one of two government contracts that collectively are worth about $58.7 million.

UnitedHealth deal in Louisiana includes clinics

The Federal Trade Commission cleared the acquisition this month.

Moody's revises Blue Cross outlook to negative

Rating agency cited the health insurer's commercial declines as for-profits arrive in the market.
Matt Marek is CEO at Further, a sister company to Eagan-based Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota that administers health savings accounts.

Matt Marek, CEO at Blue Cross affiliate, on the growth of health savings accounts

HSA users are changing the system by being far more likely to shop for care and use telehealth, the chief executive at Further says.
UnitedHealthcare is paying a fine in New Jersey over a variety of violations.

UnitedHealthcare is fined $2.5 million by New Jersey regulators

N.J. regulators say the firm wrongly denied coverage and delayed payments.
L. Read Sulik, MD, founder, CEO and Chief Medical Officer, Praestan Health, Minneapolis

Startup pushing software system for changing health behaviors

A Minneapolis-based startup company said it has raised $12 million to complete work on a technology platform that's meant to help patients and their clinicians…
UnitedHealth Group is expanding its urgent-care business in Texas.

UnitedHealth plans to bet bigger in Texas

MedExpress arm is opening 12 urgent-care clinics in the state.
UnitedHealthcare is returning to the state-run insurance exchange in Massachusetts.

UnitedHealthcare adding one state health exchange

It must sell coverage in 2019 in Massachusetts.
The MNsure call center in St. Paul.

MNsure extends sign-up period for 2019 coverage

It's because many insurance counselors will be extra busy this fall helping more than 300,000 Medicare beneficiaries pick a new health plan.
UnitedHealth Group said its second-quarter profit rose 28 percent, but some investors expected more.

UnitedHealth Group touts digital health efforts as it posts earnings gains

The comments came as the nation's largest health insurer saw its stock price decline despite a big jump in quarterly profit.

For health insurers, latest Affordable Care Act move creates more unknowns

Stability in individual, small-group markets proves elusive.
Bright Health co-founder and CEO Bob Sheehy.

Minneapolis-based insurer Bright Health adding three new states

The health plan says it will compete in parts of New York, Ohio and Tennessee.

UnitedHealthcare and dialysis company reach settlement

American Renal Associates will pay $32 million in the deal.
Seema Verma, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, is shown with Vice President Mike Pence after taking the job last year.

Without ACA adjustment pay, Minn. health plans could take $71.7M hit

Feds are freezing ACA risk adjustment payouts; state health plans could lose big.
Dr. Charlie Fazio, HealthPartners' medical director, said pharmacy costs now consume more of the health care dollar than hospital costs.

HealthPartners' Dr. Charlie Fazio on managing pharmacy costs

Highlighting the best deals comes out of frustration with prescription costs.
Nancy Williams let her Lyft driver that she was ready to be picked up from the Whittier Clinic after her doctor's appointment in March in Minneapolis.

Hitch Health raises $900K for health care ride-sharing

The Minneapolis startup's growth plan includes customers in California and Minnesota.
Sanford Health continues to expand its reach beyond South Dakota

Sanford Health continues to expand its reach beyond South Dakota

Sioux Falls-based health system's latest deal includes dozens of locations in Minnesota.

Subsidies drive consumer decisions on ACA coverage

Report finds big drop among those who don't get tax credits.

Minnesota-based Medica is expanding into Missouri, Oklahoma

The Minnetonka-based insurer will offer coverage in Missouri, Oklahoma.
Dr. Craig Samitt, newly named president and CEO, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota. He previously served as Executive Vice President and Preside

Blue Cross taps Anthem exec as new CEO

Dr. Craig Samitt was an executive vice president at the insurance giant.

Health care startup Bind raises $70 million

Mpls.-based firm pushing "on demand" insurance.
Minnetonka-based UnitedHealthcare, the nation's largest health insurance company, is nearing entry into its home market. The company says it has 200 p

UnitedHealthcare and Allina-Aetna are pushing for health care business in Minnesota

New federal, local laws are creating opportunities for business in the state.

Big Medicare shift coming to Minnesota

Health plans say many will need to switch from Medicare Cost coverage.
Blue Cross and Mayo said their agreement is noteworthy because of its five-year duration and that they aspire to share decisionmaking on emerging tech

Blue Cross, Mayo Clinic agree to new contract

Deal is longer than most and includes an atypical collaboration clause.
Health care: Minnesota’s largest public company has seen strong growth in providing coverage to Medicare beneficiaries.

Health care sector, led by UnitedHealth Group, has outsized presence on Top 50 list

UnitedHealth Group maintained its status as Minnesota's largest public company in 2017 as the Minnetonka-based health care giant for the first time surpassed the $200 billion mark in annual revenue.

Minnesota health plans propose higher premiums for small businesses

State filings also show UnitedHealthcare plans to enter market next year.
Blue Cross HMO is proposing an 11.8 percent decrease in the average premium for consumers in Minnesota's individual market next year.

Minnesota health insurers propose lower premiums

The numbers released Friday apply only to the individual market.

Despite uncertainty, Minnesota health plan premium requests expected Friday

Information will give a hint of premium costs.

UnitedHealth Group buys into hearing aid benefits

Recent shopping spree extends into new category for the nation's largest health insurer.
Cain Hayes came to Eagan-based Blue Cross and Blue Shield in 2017 to become its chief operating officer after working at Connecticut-based Aetna.

Blue Cross executive Cain Hayes makes the case for diversity in health care firms

"My experience is it doesn't happen by accident, it needs to be a deliberate focus," Hayes says.
UnitedHealthcare is acquiring a sizable Medicare plan in Louisiana, one of the states where it is not a market leader in Medicare coverage.

UnitedHealth buying Medicare plan in Louisiana

It's one of the few states where UnitedHealthcare isn't already a large operator of Medicare Advantage plans.

UnitedHealth in $2.2 billion deal for physician-staffing firm

The deal for a staffing firm highlights the insurance giant's focus on its growing patient-care business.
UnitedHealth Group expects its business in South America to generate about $11 billion in revenue this year, up from around $6 billion in 2015.

UnitedHealth Group expects jump in global growth

The company says it's benefiting from recent deals in South America.
Tyler Schultz worked in the IT operations center at Fairview Health Services, which is similar to its new “air traffic control” for patient care o

Fairview tries to break geographic lines in new structure

Shift aims to improve care, cut "unhealthy competition" between hospitals

Deal with Grantsburg medical center expands Fairview's reach in western Wisconsin

Mayo and Allina are also seeking patients on other side of St. Croix River.

Walmart paying $825,000 to settle Minnesota Medicaid billing dispute

The retailer did not admit any wrongdoing in lawsuit over billing for prescription refills.
File photo of the St Paul Campus of the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation.

Hazelden signs contracts with two national health insurers

The addiction treatment provider says it has new network agreements with Humana, UnitedHealthcare.
Tony Miller’s latest startup, Bind, runs a subscriber-based health plan that allows members to pay for services only when they’re needed.

A health plan with a la carte coverage

Minneapolis-based Bind is pitching "on-demand" insurance options that is designed to save subscribers money along the way.

UnitedHealthcare partners with lab companies

The companies tout "value-based programs" with better outcomes and lower costs.
An illustration shows the new St. Mary's Medical Center and a nearby clinic that Essentia Health plans to build in downtown Duluth.

Duluth's Essentia Health announces state's biggest medical construction project

Essentia's record expansion will include a massive new medical center.
Lawmakers approved the expansion plan that Regions Hospital in St. Paul reached after negotiations with other hospital owners in the region.

Lawmakers approve expansion compromise at Regions Hospital

Legislators approved the expansion compromise after talks among three major health systems.
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