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Christopher Snowbeck

Reporter | Business
Chris has covered health care stories at four different daily newspapers since 1994. His work at the Star Tribune focuses on health insurers, hospitals and the state's MNsure health insurance exchange. Previously, he worked at the St. Paul Pioneer Press, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Daily Progress of Charlottesville, Va., and the Indianapolis News.
Recent content from Christopher Snowbeck
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.

More found health coverage via small groups in Minnesota last year

Tighter labor market has more firms using benefit to recruit.
Regions Hospital in downtown St. Paul.

Smaller expansion at Regions Hospital moves forward

The St. Paul hospital wants lawmakers to approve the plan by Sunday.

Future looks bright for startup insurer Bright Health

The startup insurer saw its enrollment double.

Medica sees enrollment jump in ACA markets

The Minnetonka insurer is the only option for Iowa and Nebraska residents.

Feds paying $17.2 million in MinnesotaCare lawsuit

Minnesota and New York sued over federal funding for state insurance plans.
Fairview owns and operates University of Minnesota Medical Center.

Fairview plans $111 million renovation at U hospital

The plan calls for new and renovated space for emergency and surgery patients.
FILE - This Oct. 16, 2012, file photo, shows a portion of the UnitedHealth Group Inc.'s campus in Minnetonka, Minn.

UnitedHealthcare expands program for hip, knee and spine procedures

More employers are flocking to the plan, which aims to cut costs while improving care.

Former Medicare chief and UnitedHealth executive Andy Slavitt launches health-focused venture-capital firm

Former UnitedHealth Group executive putting focus on improving care in Medicare, Medicaid.

Employer health costs rising faster in Minnesota than nationwide

Most employers outside of the state are seeing increases at a lesser rate.

Health plans in Minnesota lost less on Medicaid in 2017

Blue Cross, HealthPartners, Medica and UCare saw improved financial results on PMAP, MinnesotaCare.
Lloyd Fanum

Lloyd Fanum, veteran and Coast Guard Auxiliary volunteer, dies at 91

When the Red River slipped its banks and caused historic flooding in April 1997, Humboldt, Minn., was largely underwater — and became a destination for…
Regions Hospital in downtown St. Paul.

Amid regulator concern, smaller Regions Hospital plan suggested

A plan to expand the bed count by 20 percent likely overstates the future demand for hospital care in the east metro, according to state regulators.

Allina Health reports higher income on labor savings

Hiring more RNs in 2017 led to lower spending on temporary workers.
Fairview Health Services saw a 25 percent decline in operating income.

HealthEast merger weighs on Fairview financial results

Fairview expects performance will improve as back-office efficiencies and other merger advantages kick in.
Jim Schowalter, president and CEO of Minnesota Council of Health Plans.

Health plan enrollment decline eases in Minnesota

A year ago, the trade group for Minnesota's nonprofit health insurers sounded the alarm over a 30 percent decline in the number of people buying…
Regions Hospital in St. Paul.

Regions Hospital pushes for exception to state law to add more beds

Growth in specialty care drawing patients from outside Regions' base in Ramsey County is just one of many factors that officials said are pushing the hospital up against its current limit on beds.

HealthPartners reports sharply higher income for 2017

Improvement in the state's troubled market where individuals buy health insurance boosted financial results last year at HealthPartners as the Bloomington-based health system continued to…
The UnitedHealth Group Inc.'s campus in Minnetonka, Minn.

UnitedHealth Group hikes outlook after quarterly profit easily beats estimates

Strong first quarter, new growth opportunity have the health insurer hiking its yearly outlook.

Mayo seeks smaller transcription workforce

With transcriptionists' use declining, company offers "voluntary separation" deal.
UnitedHealth Group in Minnetonka.

UnitedHealth pushes back in whistleblower case

Counterclaim alleges a breach in Medicare contract terms.

Minnesota health-plan shoppers used $137 million in state rebates

That's less than half the sum set aside by legislators, according to final figures for the state's one-time premium rebate program.
Regions Hospital, St. Paul, Minn.

Rivals raise concerns about Regions Hospital expansion plan

HealthPartners hospital in St. Paul seeks legislative approval to add 100 beds.
Positive Blue Cross results trigger rebates to consumers

Positive Blue Cross results trigger rebates to consumers

It is legally required to return about $30 million of its 2017 profit to subscribers.
In this Thursday, Sept. 25, 2014 photo, the headquarters of Ucare is pictured in Minneapolis.

Health insurers return to profitability in Minnesota

Seven nonprofit health plans reported $307.9 million in net income in 2017.
UnitedHealth Group is working with rival Humana to see if blockchain technology can be used to improve management of health data.

UnitedHealth Group dabbling with blockchain

Minnetonka-based insurer teams with rival Humana and Quest Diagnostics on technology pilot project.
The MNsure call center in St. Paul.

Smaller MNsure premiums buck national trend

It's due in large part to a Minnesota state government program, a new report finds.
Tom Lindquist, CEO, Allina Health and Aetna Insurance Company, a joint venture of Allina Health System and Connecticut-based Aetna

Allina-Aetna joint venture names CEO

New firm to sell insurance to employer groups.
Nancy Williams texted her Lyft driver for a ride after a doctor’s appointment at Whittier Clinic in Minneapolis.

Hitch Health joins ride-sharing startups trying to get patients to the doctor

Clinics say they're optimistic about the program, which is aiming to cut no-shows.
Sisters with the religious order that founded Minnesota’s first hospital are speaking out against a plan that would add 100 beds to Regions Hospital

Sisters of St. Joseph oppose Regions' downtown St. Paul expansion

A religious order is raising questions about the proposal's impact on other hospitals in St. Paul.
The MNsure call center in St. Paul.

MNsure tightens rule on 'special' enrollments

The change by MNsure follows concerns from insurers about potential "gaming" in the individual market.
MNsure CEO Allison O'Toole

MNsure CEO Allison O'Toole departing for new job

Allison O'Toole, who took the role in 2015, will be replaced by the exchange's COO, Nate Clark.
Andrew Witty, new CEO of Optum, shown in a 2015 file photo.

Optum names Andrew Witty, former Glaxo chief, as its new CEO

Larry Renfro, who has led the firm since 2011, will become managing partner of venture fund as Witty steps in.
Michael Guyette is the former chief executive of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota.

Departing Blue Cross CEO didn't disclose outside consulting payments

Departing Blue Cross leader did not disclose consulting fees to board.
Cigna has offered to buy Express Scripts in a $52 billion deal that promises $600 million in administrative efficiencies.

Bloomington jobs impact unclear from Cigna deal

Express Scripts employs about 1,000 employees and contractors here.
Prescription drugs at Express Scripts, one of the biggest pharmacy benefit managers in the drug world, in St. Louis, Mo., Sept. 7, 2016.

$52B deal for drug benefits giant would make Cigna more like UnitedHealth

The Connecticut-based insurer currently hires UnitedHealth Group for pharmacy benefit management services.

UnitedHealthcare to pass drug rebates to consumers

The insurer says 7 million people in its fully insured plans to qualify for the break.
The federal government imposed a $61,500 penalty against UCare after an audit showed it did not comply with Medicare rules in handling coverage determ

UCare among 18 insurers facing Medicare penalty

HMO says issue regarding prescription drug coverage has been corrected.
Jim Schowalter, state Council of Health Plans chief, cited health plan switches.

Health insurers in Minnesota spend more on overhead

State report tracks 10-year high in administrative spending by health plans in Minnesota during 2016.
Drug spending trends moderated again in 2017, according to a new report.

Prescription drug spending declined slightly in 2017

Prime Thera­peutics report is used to track the trend.
Mayo Clinic earnings jumped by nearly 50 percent last year as the Rochester-based health care system lost less money on Medicaid patients.

Mayo Clinic sees big jump in 2017 earnings

Clinic cites drop in Medicaid losses, gains in philanthropy, investments and efficiency.
Mayo Clinic CEO John Noseworthy

Mayo Clinic's CEO to retire at year's end

Dr. John Noseworthy served nine years as president and chief executive at the Rochester-based health system.
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