Staff Directory 6370570

Christopher Snowbeck

Reporter | Business

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
UnitedHealthcare, a unit of UnitedHealth Group, is based in Minnetonka, Minn.

For-profit HMOs will, again, be blocked from Minnesota's Medicaid program

Legislative change partially restores market protections for nonprofit health plans that were dropped in 2017.
With the acquistion of CARE Counseling, UnitedHealth's Optum division now owns or is affiliated with three outpatient mental health providers in Minne

UnitedHealth Group acquires large mental health group in Twin Cities

The company's Optum division now owns three outpatient mental health providers in Minnesota.
The nonprofit HMO health insurer UCare has failed expansion bids in both Iowa and Kansas.

Kansas denies UCare's bid for Medicaid contract

The Minneapolis-based HMO previously failed with an expansion effort to manage care for patients in Iowa.
Fergus Falls State Hospital in 1915. The building, a massive structure spanning a third of a mile, is still standing. Its patient population peaked at

Emptying state institutions was supposed to help fix mental health care. What happened?

Why the system for community mental health care did not get fully built.
UnitedHealthcare must pay up to a $450,000 fine in a settlement over mental health parity laws.

Minnesota fines UnitedHealthcare $450K over alleged mental health parity violations

The settlement is third in a series where insurers did not admit or deny allegations. HealthPartners and Medica previously agreed to pay fines.
Rachel Hopper and her son Espen Hopper-Willams filled out the FAFSA form together on a laptop during the financial aid workshop at South High School i

How to make sense of a college financial aid package

With FAFSA woes delaying aid offers, these tips can help families make comparisons on a tight deadline.
University of Minnesota Medical Center in Minneapolis in 2020.

What's a fair price for University of Minnesota Medical Center?

U, Fairview entering key valuation phase in potential deal to sell the teaching hospital in Minneapolis.
Attorney General Keith Ellison speaks during a press conference in April. Ellison filed fraud Medicaid fraud charges against a group of Faribault admi

Minnesota AG Ellison brings charges in Faribault area Medicaid fraud scheme

Co-conspirators are accused of fraudulent billing for transportation, interpreter and specialty clinic services.
Andrew Witty, chief executive of UnitedHealth Group, testifies Wednesday at a Senate Finance Committee hearing on cyber attacks on health care in Wash

Congress slams UnitedHealth's cybersecurity, calls company 'a monopoly on steroids'

Andrew Witty is on Capitol Hill today, answering questions about the health giant's data breach.
UCare is a nonprofit HMO health insurer with its headquarters office in Minneapolis. The health plan provided this photo in March 2022.

UCare saw $82.1M operating loss last year as patients returned for care

Red ink occurred after unusually profitable 2022 for HMOs in Medicaid and other public health insurance programs.
Attorney General Keith Ellison speaks during a press conference at the Attorney General’s Office inside the Minnesota State Capitol in St. Paul, Min

AG Ellison calls on UnitedHealth to provide more help in cyberattack

Attorneys general in 22 states signed a letter calling the response thus far "inadequate" and questioning if company-owned clinics have received more assistance than others.
University of Minnesota Medical Center in Minneapolis in 2020.

Fairview sees financial upturn despite $189M operating loss last year

Fifth year of red ink reported as health system CEO cites progress on deal to return teaching hospital to U of M.
UnitedHealth Group headquarters.

UnitedHealth reveals hackers may have stolen data on a sizable number of Americans

The Minnetonka-based health care giant will offer identity protection and credit monitoring as preliminary investigation suggests hack affected data for a "substantial proportion" of Americans.
Christine Knirk, 65, of Burnsville was caught in a dispute between her health insurer and health care provider that could have stuck her with a $32,00

Burnsville woman's sinus surgery went great — until she got the $32,449 medical bill

Billing dispute provides a window on tensions between insurers and health care providers over coverage denials.
UnitedHealth Group has its headquarters in Minnetonka.

Cyberattack could cost UnitedHealth Group up to $1.6B this year

Minnetonka-based health care giant still beat first quarter earnings beat expectations after excluding one-time costs, including those related to the hack.
FILE- In this July 10, 2018, file photo bottles of medicine ride on a belt at a mail-in pharmacy warehouse in Florence, N.J. Drug companies are still

How to save money at the pharmacy counter

Health insurance benefits are the first tool, but shopping around, paying cash and accessing coupons are strategies to consider, as well.
Earlier this month, UnitedHealth Group said 24 class action lawsuits related to the disruption caused by a cyberattack had been filed between March 1

Mpls. therapy clinic sues over cyberattack at UnitedHealth subsidiary

Class action lawsuit is one of about two dozen filed thus far. Minnetonka-based company says it is restoring Change Healthcare systems that were sidelined to contain the threat.
Abbott Northwestern Hospital shuttle driver Paul Saverinske ferries Eileen Thomas and Melanie Milbradt of Minneapolis through the skyway that connects

A new skyway is 823 feet long — but is it the longest skyway in Minnesota?

A new flying corridor at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis nearly stretches the length of three football fields — but is that a record?
Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Brooke Cunningham says health care costs remain a barrier in Minnesota even though the uninsured rate

Minnesota report finds uninsured rate hits all-time low in state, but health care costs still barrier

Health Department report suggests the share of state residents lacking coverage improved slightly last year compared with 2021.
Bright Health had its headquarters in Bloomington before announcing in January the company's move to Florida.

Bright Health CEO's bonus grew to $1.95M amid slashed workforce

The company, which was founded in Minnesota, cut its workforce by more than half after exiting the health plan business.
North Memorial said it cannot make needed expansions at Maple Grove Hospital until its financial issues at flagship Robbinsdale facility are solved,

North Memorial's Maple Grove Hospital expansion plans still on hold due to issues in Robbinsdale

The health system must solve the financial challenges at its flagship hospital in Robbinsdale first, even though Maple Grove is operating at overcapacity levels.
After 364 applicants were mistakenly accepted and then retroactively rejected to Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine, one anonymous internet hero deci

Report: Tax breaks for Mayo, other hospitals outweigh community benefit

Hospitals say the study is "deeply flawed" for not factoring research, teaching and Medicaid expenses.
North Memorial Health operates North Memorial Health -- Robbinsdale Hospital.

North Memorial laying off 103 workers, cutting outpatient mental health

Health system cites lower pay from government-sponsored health plans, recent funding cut from Hennepin County.
UnitedHealth Group has its headquarters in Minnetonka.

UnitedHealth says it's doled out $2B to health care providers after cyberattack

Minnetonka-based health care giant is asking clinics and hospitals to seek financial help after reports of problems receiving payments.
Emily Benson’s Edina mental health clinic’s revenue has been cut to “basically zero, she said, because of the billing systems outage at UnitedHe

Minnesota health care groups struggling to find UnitedHealth financial aid

Minnetonka-based health care giant says thousands are being helped across the country after cyberattack, even as frustration builds.
FILE - This July 12, 2019 file photo shows the UnitedHealthcare headquarters in Minneapolis. Federal regulators are suing to block UnitedHealth Group'

Lawsuit alleging UnitedHealth caught with 'hand in cookie jar' to go to trial

Trial coming on allegations the health care giant kept low-performing Wells Fargo funds as key 401(k) option due in part to 'balance of trade' with the bank.
UnitedHealth Group is based in Minnetonka.

What you should know about the UnitedHealth cyberattack

Patients will need to watch medical bills closely in the coming weeks and months as the billing mess gets sorted out. Risks from stolen data are unclear.
FILE - This July 12, 2019 file photo shows the UnitedHealthcare headquarters in Minneapolis. Federal regulators are suing to block UnitedHealth Group'

UnitedHealth Group expects mid-March recovery for systems affected by cyberattack

Pharmacy systems are operating again, the company says, and other repairs are coming soon. Health care providers say mess remains, warn of 'financial cliff.'
UnitedHeatlh Group has its headquarters in Minnetonka.

Medical providers say UnitedHealth cyberattack fallout 'a mess' that threatens their financial health

Lawsuits in Minnesota claim the Minnetonka-based health care giant didn't do enough to prevent an attack that continues to stymie health care providers. The company reports progress on fixes.
University of Minnesota regents say they think Rebecca Cunningham's experience as a doctor and higher education administrator will help the U as it we

University of Minnesota faces big choices on medical programs, and its new leader is a doctor

Regents said they hoped Rebecca Cunningham's experience in medicine and higher education administration would help the U of M at a pivotal time.
GLEN STUBBE * gstubbe@startribune.com Thursday, October 4, 2007 -- Minnetonka, Minn. -- UnitedHealth Group Headquarters in Minnetonka, Minn.

Fallout grows from cyberattack at UnitedHealth Group subsidiary

Hospitals say they might need financial support; small clinics aren't sure if they can make payroll.
This rendering provided by Mayo Clinic shows a street-level view of the clinic's planned expansion in Rochester.

Mayo Clinic operating profit jumps to $1.1B as staffing woes recede

Pay increases helped with recruitment and retention, setting the stage for another salary bump starting next month.
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Report: Justice Department opens antitrust investigation at UnitedHealth Group

DOJ previously lost its 2022 attempt to block a UnitedHealth acquisition on allegations the deal would harm competition.
UCare CEO Hilary Marden-Resnik says the move to compete for Kansas Medicaid plan is part of growth plans.

Minneapolis-based UCare seeks to continue growth, vying for Medicaid business in Kansas

Following months of prep work, nonprofit health insurer expects to learn results from bidding process in April.
UnitedHealth Group Headquarters in Minnetonka.

Report: Notorious ransomware group launched cyberattack on UnitedHealth Group

A group called "Blackcat" targeted a network for filling prescriptions that's operated by the company's Change Healthcare subsidiary, sources told Reuters.
UnitedHealth Group Headquarters in Minnetonka.

Cyberattack hits UnitedHealth Group unit by actor with suspected 'nation-state' ties

Network interruption includes systems used by pharmacies to file coverage claims with health insurers.
Denise Copeland, who just celebrated her 100th birthday, talked to Dr. Franklin Fleming during an appointment at the HealthPartners Como Clinic. Copel

HealthPartners building a new $80M Como Clinic, the St. Paul site that started it all

After pandemic delays, a replacement structure is planned for the founding clinic at the Bloomington-based health system.
Allina Health attributed losses last year to industrywide challenges, including high staffing expenses and difficulty discharging patients to step-dow

After big loss, Allina Health reports signs of financial turnaround

Minneapolis-based health system lost $317.8 million on operations last year, but saw a small profit during the fourth quarter.
A SuperShuttle van trunk picked up passengers outside Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport  in 2019.

Road to baggage claim re-opened after damage at Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport

The road to the Terminal 1 baggage claim was closed late Saturday after a truck hit and damaged an overhead sign.

Teenager shot in St. Paul, hospitalized with serious wound

The shooting occurred early Saturday morning in the city's North End.
Target Center in Minneapolis.

Skater injured during 'Disney on Ice' show at Target Center in Minneapolis

The performer was taken to a local hospital. Her condition was not immediately available.

Infant found dead at casino hotel near Granite Falls

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is assisting with the investigation.
University of Minnesota Medical Center in Minneapolis in 2020.

University of Minnesota intends to buy teaching hospital from Fairview

Regents at the U approved a letter of intent to repurchase its teaching hospital from the health system more than 25 years after it transferred ownership.
Dirk McMahon, president of UnitedHealth Group, is retiring in April.

UnitedHealth Group president and chief operating officer to retire

Dirk McMahon held a series of leadership positions at the Minnetonka-based company over the past two decades .
University of Minnesota Fairview Medical Center, University campus.

Task force offers support for University of Minnesota health center plans — with an asterisk

Group calls for strategic plan across training programs and funding to address workforce shortages.
Minnetonka-based Medica has laid off 162 workers. In November, it employed about 3,000 people.

Minnetonka-based Medica lays off 162 workers

The health insurer's move is to "align our resources with business priorities."
Allina Health operates Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis.

Allina Health deal shifting 2,000 workers to Optum

Health system announces 10-year agreement on IT, revenue cycle management with UnitedHealth Group unit
UCare is a nonprofit HMO health insurer with its headquarters in Minneapolis. The health plan provided this photo in March 2022.

Nonprofit health insurers keep making money in Minnesota

DFL lawmakers question whether HMOs should continue managing care in the state's Medicaid program
James Hereford, Fairview CEO, speaks during the Governor's Task Force on Academic Health at the University of Minnesota inside the State Senate Buildi

Median nonprofit CEO pay in Minnesota jumps 25% in compensation comeback

The state's health systems say they're paying incentives to retain executives during tough times
The 20-story Gonda Building is the centerpiece of the clinic’s downtown campus. Mayo’s vision is to transform Rochester into a world-cla

Mayo Clinic selling its stake in Abu Dhabi medical center for $150M

The purchase price is reportedly about $150 million for an ownership stake that dates to 2019.
Thousands turned to MNsure for 2024 coverage.

MNsure breaks open enrollment record with 146,000 signups

The previous peak came two years ago when more than 134,000 people enrolled in coverage via Minnesota's health insurance exchange.
Bright Health Group is changing its name and shifting its headquarters to Florida.

Bright Health is moving its HQ from Minnesota to Florida, changing name

After shedding the health insurance business that drove massive growth, the company will change its name to NeueHealth, once a small part of its business.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota has its headquarters in Eagan.

Feds sue Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota over health care provider tax payments

The U.S. Department of Labor alleges the nonprofit insurer served its own interests over those of certain employer health plans that it administers.

UnitedHealth reports rising medical costs from RSV vaccines, seasonal illness

The Minnetonka-based health care giant saw fourth-quarter earnings grow 15% to $5.46 billion.

State task force debates need for new University of Minnesota hospital

Former Govs. Dayton and Pawlenty support launching a fund for the new medical center, but some task force members want to pump the brakes.
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Essentia Health, Marshfield Clinic call off merger

The Minnesota and Wisconsin health systems say the proposed combination is "not the right path forward for our respective organizations."

Edina patient scrambles after delay in shipping cancer meds

A FedEx package with $18,000 worth of medicine was placed in a mailbox and removed by the U.S. Postal Service. It took a week for it to resurface back at the pharmacy.
UnitedHealth Group has its headquarters in Minnetonka.

UnitedHealth Group cutting losses with sale of health care business in Brazil

The deal next year is expected to bring a $7 billion charge for the Minnetonka-based health care giant.
In this Oct. 26, 2017, photo, a woman walked past the Briva Health enrollment office for MNsure, Minnesota’s insurance marketplace, in Minneapolis.

MNsure hits enrollment record with 132,000 sign-ups since November

Open enrollment for individual coverage continues through mid-January at the state's health insurance exchange.
Spend your FSA balance before it expires by stocking your medicine cabinet. Most plans cover over-the-counter medications and first-aid supplies, incl

How to use — and not lose — your FSA dollars as the end of year approaches

FSAs can be a great way to save money on certain medical expenses, but research suggests that roughly 50% of workers each year wind up forfeiting funds.
Keith Ellison is the Minnesota Attorney General.

Minnesota attorney general brings charges in large Medicaid fraud case

Keith Ellison's office says three people will be arrested and charged with 24 counts totaling $11 million in fraud.

University of Minnesota seeking up to $80M from state for health care programs

The request comes as the University continues negotiating with Fairview Health Services.

Drugs, inflation driving higher health plan costs across U.S. — including Minnesota

Annual employer survey points to a second consecutive year of 5.2% increase, with spending on new weight-loss drugs helping drive the increase.
UnitedHealth Group has its headquarters in Minnetonka.

UnitedHealth Group forecasts growth despite 'price cut' in Medicare Advantage

The Minnetonka-based health care giant expects a profit of more than $24 billion next year on $400 billion in revenue.

Ex-Govs. Pawlenty, Dayton urge Fairview, University of Minnesota to resolve dispute

U's interim president tells state task force it won't be seeking an appropriation for a new East Bank hospital in the coming legislative session.

Former Govs. Pawlenty, Dayton urge Fairview and University of Minnesota to resolve dispute soon

James Hereford, president and CEO of Fairview Health Services, in September at M Health Fairview University of Minnesota Medical Center in Minneapolis

Fairview tells U it does not want to renew current partnership

The move comes weeks before a Dec. 31 deadline for either party to signal opposition to an auto-renewal of the U-Fairview affiliation after 2026.
Lakeview Hospital is located in Stillwater.

HealthPartners plans new Lakeview Hospital in Stillwater

No financial details were provided, but the health system says similar projects cost about $400 million.
UnitedHealthcare, which is the health insurance division of Minnetonka-based UnitedHealth Group, is named as a defendant in the class action complaint

Lawsuit accuses UnitedHealth of using faulty AI to deny Medicare patient claims

Minnetonka-based health care giant says there's no merit to the new class action lawsuit, which claims the company is using artificial intelligence to override physician determinations.
Hospitals and health systems across Minnesota are reporting more financial stress as costs continue to rise.

Hospitals across Minnesota report more financial stress

Beyond rising labor expenses, one-third of hospitals surveyed said supply and service costs are growing by more than 10%.
Chaplains recently laid off stand for a portrait outside a University of Minnesota health clinic in Minneapolis, Minn., on Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2023. St

Fairview's recent layoffs include significant cut to chaplain program

Workers say staff chaplain layoffs are concentrated at University of Minnesota Medical Center. Fairview says "dozens" will continue meeting patient spiritual needs.
Bright Health is based in Bloomington.

Bright Health fined $1M over alleged denied claims errors, including for newborn care

Nebraska insurance regulators reported thousands of problems with claims processing, including improper denials and late payments to medical providers.
Lisa Erickson is the new chief executive at Minnetonka-based Medica.

Minnetonka-based Medica names new CEO

Lisa Erickson had been chief financial officer at the health insurer, which has grown through an acquisition and expansion into new states.
Fairview Health Services operates M Health Fairview Southdale Hospital in Edina.

Minneapolis-based Fairview is eliminating 250 jobs through layoffs, attrition

Workers are being notified Thursday of cuts driven by financial challenges like those facing many hospitals and clinics.
Jodi Harpstead, the Commissioner of the state Department of Human Services, addresses a news conference in June about the Medicaid re-determination pr

Minnesota restoring Medicaid coverage for 12,745 state residents

Insurance will re-start by the end of November. The move follows a call for changes by the federal government in Minnesota and 28 other states.