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
Mike Mikan is the chief executive of Bright Health Group.

Bright Health paid executives $3.77 million in bonuses as the business foundered

A health care strategist calls it "pay-for-failure." The Bloomington-based health insurer said its incentives formula called for bigger bonuses.
The University of Minnesota Medical Center on the U’s East Bank campus is one of four facilites that make up the teaching hospital.

University of Minnesota says $300 million is 'upper limit' for Fairview hospital

University officials questioned whether the institution would need to pay anything for the transfer.
Former Minnesota Govs. Mark Dayton and Tim Pawlenty watched as Sanford CEO Bill Gassen and Fairview CEO James Hereford testified Tuesday before the St

New documents show fracture between U, Fairview on merger

University of Minnesota executives questioned the leadership of Fairview's "highly compensated" CEO; Fairview said the U wasn't taking shared responsibility for financial problems, in letters obtained by the Star Tribune.
GLEN STUBBE � Wednesday, April 21, 2007 — Rochester, Minn. —The Mayo Clinic’s Gonda Building in downtown Rochester. //

Mayo Clinic's operating income fell by half last year on rising labor costs

Rochester-based Mayo reports $595 million in operating income in 2022, a more than 50% reduction as costs rise.
The University of Minnesota Medical Center, Fairview in Minneapolis, is seen in this 2013 file photo.

U of Minnesota seeks $950M to acquire, operate hospitals in Minneapolis

University officials to ask state lawmakers for funds to repurchase primary medical teaching facilities amid Fairview-Sanford merger talks.
Dana Erickson is chief executive officer at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota

CEO looks forward as Blue Cross of Minnesota marks 90th anniversary

Labor shortages at health care providers and for-profit competition among carriers are among the challenges facing the state's largest nonprofit health insurer.
Sanford Health headquarters in Sioux Falls, S.D.

Sanford-Fairview merger plan includes $500M for Minnesota sites

Benefactor Denny Sanford has pledged to make Sanford Health the primary beneficiary of his estate so long as headquarters remains in Sioux Falls, S.D.
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison

Sanford-Fairview delaying merger until May 31 following pressure from state officials

Attorney General Keith Ellison's office says the health systems on Friday agreed to move their self-imposed deadline to May 31.
Sanford Health headquarters in Sioux Falls, S.D.

Medical students, Grand Rapids residents split on Sanford-Fairview merger

U medical students voiced concerns about access to abortion and other medical services; residents said Grand Rapids needs benefits like those Sanford Health brought to Bemidji.
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison on Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2022, detailing the beginning steps in his office’s review of the proposed Sanford Hea

Minnesota AG calls for delay in Sanford-Fairview merger timeline

A representative of the attorney general says Keith Ellison wants to make sure the University of Minnesota "has its fair say." Sanford's CEO says the merger can proceed with or without the U's approval.
Fairview Health Services owns the University of Minnesota Medical Center in Minneapolis.

Credit rating agency downgrades Fairview, citing continued weakness in financials

Moody's Investors Service did not factor in the proposed merger with Sanford Health or possible sale of University of Minnesota Medical Center in determining its rating.
Dana Erickson is the chief executive officer of Eagan-based Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota.

After outsourcing trouble, Blue Cross of Minnesota hiring 300-plus to manage public insurance enrollees

Health plan will bring back work it started outsourcing in 2018 following a rocky transition that led to eight corrective action plans and $13 million in state sanctions.
Clockwise from top left: David Hengel, Julie Laitala, Anne Schwagerl and Reed Olson were among speakers at a public meeting Tuesday held by Minnesot

Bemidji residents weigh in on proposed Sanford-Fairview merger

About two-thirds of speakers at a public meeting voiced support for the deal and the South Dakota-based health system, which has owned the town's hospital since 2011.
Sanford CEO Bill Gassen, left, and Fairview CEO James Hereford listen to public comments on Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2023.

Talk of Sanford-Fairview mega-merger moves to Bemidji Tuesday night

Bemidji was chosen as one of several towns in greater Minnesota where South Dakota-based Sanford Health already operates medical facilities.
Dr. Jakub Tolar, dean of the University of Minnesota Medical School, left; Sanford CEO Bill Gassen; and Fairview CEO James Hereford at a public meetin

What you need to know about the Sanford-Fairview mega-merger

The Minnesota- and South Dakota-based health systems want to combine. Here's what we know about the plan and its potential impact on health care in the state.
Jakub Tolar, dean of the University of Minnesota Medical School, talked about the U’s plan for a new medical campus.

U of M wants teaching hospital back as part of expansion plan

The Sanford and Fairview health systems have said the U could negotiate to repurchase the University of Minnesota Medical Center.
Dr. Cresta Wedel Jones of M Health expressed concern Tuesday about the Sanford-Fairview merger, focused on the South Dakota company’s potential app

Sanford-Fairview merger raises issues of abortion, LGBTQ care

Concerns were voiced over abortion services, mental health treatment and transgender care during a public meeting Tuesday night in St. Paul.
Sanford CEO Bill Gassen, left, and Fairview CEO James Hereford listen to public comments on Tuesday.

If U opposes Sanford-Fairview merger, it could repurchase teaching hospital, execs say

With the public overture, Sanford and Fairview are trying to show their willingness to move forward with a deal with or without the university.
Fairview Health Services owns the University of Minnesota Medical Center in Minneapolis.

Proposed Sanford-Fairview merger raises financial questions in Minnesota

University of Minnesota officials voiced concerns about the plan, cautioning that it shouldn't diminish the U's interests.
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison details the beginning steps in his office’s review of the proposed Sanford Health-Fairview Health System me

AG Ellison sets meetings for proposed Sanford-Fairview merger

Public meetings for the mega-merger between two regional health systems are scheduled for January in Bemidji, Grand Rapids, St. Paul and Worthington.
Fairview Health Services owns the University of Minnesota Medical Center in Minneapolis.

University of Minnesota leaders voice concerns about Sanford-Fairview merger proposal

President Joan Gabel and the Board of Regents chair insisted that any business deal must not sacrifice the University of Minnesota's mission.
In this file photo from Oct. 21, 2020, Deb Keaveny, a pharmacist at Keaveny Drug, fills a prescription for a Winsted resident and long time customer.

Through reverse auctions, Minnesota pushes for PBM savings and price transparency

Two large health plans for public sector workers expect $28.5 million in savings over two years through a new contract with a pharmaceutical benefits manager.
The case highlights divergent views on the University of Minnesota’s role at the nonprofit health insurer it created.

University of Minnesota wins temporary block on UCare attempt to add board members

The university sued the HMO firm over fears it was at risk of losing its majority status on the company's board of directors.
A merger between Sioux Falls-based Sanford Health and Minneapolis-based Fairview Health Services would impact the University of Minnesota Medical Cent

Economists say a Sanford-Fairview merger could raise Minnesota health care costs

While they operate in different parts of the state, the health systems negotiate payment rates with the same insurers and might exert more power as a result.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz during an interview Wednesday in St. Paul expressed openness to the proposed merger of Fairview Health Services and Sanford He

Walz signals openness to revived Sanford-Fairview merger

The two health systems tried to combine in 2013, but the deal fell apart after resistance from Minnesota political leaders.
UnitedHealth Group expects medical costs to increase modestly in 2023.

UnitedHealth Group expects revenue nearing $360B next year

The health care giant projects double-digit growth, led by its Optum division for health care services.
Dr. Malka Lotterstein Goodman

Dr. Malka Lotterstein Goodman, a Twin Cities adolescent psychiatrist, dies at 93

Lotterstein Goodman called her family her "lasting legacy."
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison details steps in his office’s review of the proposed merger on Tuesday with Assistant Attorneys General Col

Proposed Sanford-Fairview merger to get public hearings

Attorney General Keith Ellison says he's heard concerns from health care workers, farmers and people worried that charitable assets will be shipped out of state.
Minnesota and New York joined the appeal, contending that the $13 billion acquisition by UnitedHealth Group will harm competition.

Justice Department appeals ruling in UnitedHealth Group antitrust case

The Minnetonka-based health care giant acquired Change Healthcare following a judge's verdict in September.
The fate of the University of Minnesota Medical Center in Minneapolis was a key concern when Sanford Health and Fairview Health System proposed a merg

Sanford, Fairview revive merger talks after last attempt failed

The combined mega health system would be operated from South Dakota. Sioux Falls-based Sanford and Minneapolis-based Fairview signed non-binding letters of intent to merge and publicly acknowledged the negotiations on Tuesday.
Ethan Hagen, 11, as Frodo of the Lord of the Rings tells Darth Vader aka Derek Plymate about his R2D2 figurine at Twin Cities Con in Minneapolis on Su

Twin Cities Con celebrates comics, cosplay and generally nerdy fun

Sunday marked the conclusion of Twin Cities Con, a three-day celebration of comics, film, popular culture and various nerdy pursuits at the Minneapolis Convention Center.…
Police investigating apparent homicide in downtown St. Paul

Police investigating apparent homicide in downtown St. Paul

Officers found an unresponsive man near a loading dock with an apparent gunshot wound to the upper body about 2 a.m. Sunday.
Bright Health Group has its headquarters in Bloomigton.

Bright Health Group eliminating 99 jobs at Minnesota headquarters as pullback continues

The announcement comes one month after the health insurer disclosed a major retreat from health insurance markets in 10 states where individuals buy coverage
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota has its headquarters in Eagan.

Blue Cross adds Albert Lea clinic, lobbied for by area seniors, to Medicare Advantage network

Seniors in the southern Minnesota town lobbied for better access after learning the outpatient center they helped create was out-of-network for a large Medicare health plan.
UCare has its headquarters in Minneapolis.

University of Minnesota sues Minneapolis-based UCare over control of the HMO

The U is asking a Hennepin County judge to block the board at UCare from voting on a proposal to expand membership on the 15-person board.
Bob Besinger meets with a client at the Trellis offices in Arden Hills, Minn., on Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2022.

It's Medicare open enrollment season. Here's what Minnesotans need to know

The annual open enrollment period brings a host of considerations for seniors trying to make the best decision with health insurance options.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota has its headquarters in Eagan.

Parent company of Blue Cross of Minnesota to sell Livio Health, a senior care provider

Acquisition by St. Louis Park-based Lifespark marks a second sale in as many years from a division created to diversify revenue at Blue Cross's parent company.
A new heart surgery center in Edina is part of Allina Health’s efforts to open more free-standing surgery centers across the Twin Cities.

Allina opens new heart surgery center in Edina

The facility for less-complicated heart procedures continues a partnership to develop free-standing surgery centers with a division of Minnetonka-based UnitedHealth Group.
The average total premium paid this year for family coverage is $22,463 — relatively flat from a year ago, but not expected to stay there in 2023.

Family health plan premiums hold at $22,463, but employers see growth in mental health needs

Less health care use with the pandemic halted premium growth for the first time since the Kaiser Family Foundation launched annual surveys of employer health plans in 1999.
Bob Besinger meets with a client at the Trellis offices in Arden Hills, Minn., on Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2022. Every open enrollment season, Bob Besinger p

Medicare shopping season brings more choices, some premium cuts in Minnesota

The annual open enrollment period for Medicare Advantage, Cost health plans and stand-alone Part D drug coverage runs through Dec. 7.
Hospital-at-home patient Terry Johnson discussed managing pain and exercise with nurse Cassie Jennison during their final weekly checkup at his home i

Allina Health, VC firm raising $20 million for 'hospital-at-home' startup in Minneapolis

The Minneapolis-based health system developed its program when access to hospital care was limited during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nneka Sederstrom is the chief executive of UzObi, a startup with an online tool for helping patients communicate with doctors about care decisions inc

Minnesota medical ethicist: 'Once we're born, we're in a terminal condition'

Nneka Sederstrom launches startup to help change the conversation about life, health care and — importantly — death.
UnitedHealth Group, which reported more than $5 billion in profit for the third quarter, is expanding in the market where individuals can buy coverage

UnitedHealth Group's quarterly profit soars to $5.26B

Executives are looking for growth in the individual health insurance market and hinted at more activity in the coming months with mergers and acquisitions.
Katherine B. and Fred C. Andersen

Mayo Clinic receives $100M gift to expand radiation center in Rochester

Donation from the Fred C. and Katherine B. Andersen Foundation will expand access to proton beam technology.
UnitedHealthcare has its headquarters in Minnetonka.

Minnesota awarding contracts worth $5 billion to Medicaid health plans

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, Medica and UnitedHealthcare are expanding in the state insurance programs. HealthPartners dropped 22 counties.
The Mayo Clinic Gonda building in Rochester in April 2020.

Mayo Clinic boosting pay 6%, biggest jump in more than two decades

The raises from Minnesota's largest employer apply to its allied employees who perform jobs from nursing to maintenance. It comes amid labor shortages and general inflation.
UnitedHealth Group has its headquarters in Minnetonka.

UnitedHealth Group completes $13 billion deal to acquire Change Healthcare

The acquisition moved forward after a federal judge found the Justice Department failed to show in court that the merger would substantially diminish competition.
MNsure, headquartered in St. Paul, is the government-run platform for individuals to buy health insurance as part of the federal Affordable Care Act.

Minnesota approves modest hikes for MNsure health plans, touts tax credits for many

Three major carriers will increase average premiums less than 3% while a fourth will cut its monthly rate. More than 70,000 are eligible for tax credits averaging $6,700.
Nneka Sederstrom is the chief health equity officer at Hennepin Healthcare.

Hennepin Healthcare earns national recognition for progress on health equity

An accrediting group launched a new standard to recognize health plans and health care providers that partner with communities to address health disparities.
The September auction held by the Minnesota Department of Commerce included more than 1,000 items left in safe deposit boxes whose owners or heirs cou

Minnesota raises $140K from online auction of unclaimed items

The September event drew some 500 bidders and 150 buyers of everything from jewelry to collectable coins.
Alvaro Bedoya, who is the newest commissioner at the Federal Trade Commission, delivered remarks at a Thursday conference at Open Book in Minneapolis.

New FTC commissioner calls for 'a return to fairness' in antitrust enforcement

Alvaro Bedoya criticizes limits on access to local pharmacies, says ongoing investigation of pharmaceutical benefit managers will be a "top priority."
Medica has its headquarters in Minnetonka.

Court dismisses GS Labs lawsuit against Medica over COVID tests

Judge rules the federal CARES Act did not create a right for the testing company to sue over payment terms.
An image from M Health Fairview’s application to the state for approval of a new 144-bed psychiatric and substance abuse hospital in St. Paul.

State clears Fairview plan for new psychiatric hospital in St. Paul but raises concerns

The $62 million building would be at the site of the old Bethesda Hospital.
A local franchisee opened Minnesota’s first American Family Care urgent care in late August.

More urgent care clinics are coming to Minnesota

UnitedHealth Group's MedExpress has closed several locations, but other providers are stepping into a market that's growing after the pandemic paused expansion plans.
Ruth Richardson will be the new chief executive at Planned Parenthood North Central States.

St. Paul-based Planned Parenthood North Central States names new CEO

Ruth Richardson is a state lawmaker and chief executive at Wayside Recovery Center, a St. Louis Park-based nonprofit.
UnitedHealth Group has its headquarters in Minnetonka.

Walmart, UnitedHealth Group partner on clinic care, Medicare Advantage

The retail and health care giants will collaborate on clinics adjacent to Walmart Superstores, telehealth and a co-branded health plan for seniors in Georgia.
UnitedHealthcare is expanding its presence in state health exchanges that were launched under the federal Affordable Care Act, an about-face from 2017

Five years after largely exiting ACA markets, UnitedHealthcare to expand in more state exchanges

The Minnetonka-based health insurer now sells to individuals in 18 states and plans to grow to 22, an about-face from 2017 when it largely dropped coverage in the ACA market.
UCare has its headquarters in Minneapolis.

UCare not selected for large Medicaid contract in Iowa

The Minneapolis-based HMO says it's now considering options after losing bid that was central to insurer's growth plan.
UnitedHealth Group has its headquarters in Minnetonka.

Suit alleges UnitedHealth Group mismanaged investment options in worker retirement plan

Amended complaint adds the CFO and alleges "the fix was in" to retain Wells Fargo funds.
Bright Health Group has its headquarters in Bloomington.

Bright Health increases the urgency in seeking more capital

Without more capital in the next 12 months, the Bloomington-based insurer tells regulators there is "substantial doubt" about operations.
Items up for auction include this 18 karat yellow gold amethyst ring and 18 karat yellow gold citrine ring along with an undrilled natural culture pea

Gold rings, sapphires and a Rod Carew baseball card: Minnesota to auction more than 1,000 unclaimed items

Banks turned over the safe deposit box items to the state after searching for five years to find the owner.
Craig Smoldt

Longtime Mayo administrator dies; he guided facilities, explored clinic's history

Craig Smoldt worked for 50 years at the clinic including eight years on the board of directors.
UnitedHealth Group has its headquarters in Minnetonka.

UnitedHealth Group buys Medicare insurer in Texas

Acquisition of the health plan was part of the company's transaction this year with a large medical group in Houston.
Fairview Health Services operates University of Minnesota Medical Center in Minneapolis and markets health services with the U under the brand M Healt

Fairview's operating loss grew to $163.6 million; Allina also posts a loss

The two large health systems both saw losses swell during the period partly due to higher labor costs and a lack of space available at transitional centers that is lengthening patients' hospital stays.
Jorge Macias administers a rapid COVID-19 test Thursday, June 9, 2022 at the COVID-19 test-to-treat site at the Starlite Center in Brooklyn Park, Minn

More than 13,000 deaths now linked to COVID-19 in Minnesota

CDC data show Minnesota counties at a high COVID-19 level increased from nine to 22 in the past week.
Mary Turner, president of the Minnesota Nurses Association and an ICU nurse at North Memorial Health Hospital, spoke at a news conference and demonstr

Minnesota Nurses Association sets date for strike vote in contract dispute with hospitals

The union announced Thursday that 15,000 nurses in the Twin Cities and Duluth area are set to vote Monday.
UnitedHealthcare, which is the nation’s largest health insurer, has its headquarters in Minnetonka.

UnitedHealthcare expands ownership stake and rebrands Bind Benefits

With the new name Surest, the business structures health plan benefits based on copays rather than deductibles.
Bright Health Group shares were down in morning trading after its latest results came in below analysts’ estimates.

Bright Health Group shares drop after latest results miss expectations

Bloomington-based health insurer reported progress on resolving problems in claims processing and risk adjustment.
At-home testing for COVID-19 has made it more difficult to interpret official case counts for the infectious disease.

Minnesota COVID levels steady with a few upticks

Cases and hospitalizations are up slightly, but ICU numbers and wastewater data suggest a generally stable picture.
A doctor performed an ultrasound scan on a pregnant woman in Chicago in 2018.

Report: Minnesota's rate for pregnancy-related deaths lower than national average

A new report from the Minnesota Department of Health looked at deaths during or within one year of a pregnancy.
Medical billing and health insurance systems in the U.S. are complex, and many patients have difficulty navigating them.

How to fight back if your health plan denies coverage

Consumers have formal and informal options that often require a healthy dose of patience — whether waiting on hold or wading through lengthy health plan documents.
UnitedHealthcare, which is the health insurance division of UnitedHealth Group, has its headquarters in Minnetonka.

UnitedHealthcare to eliminate out-of-pocket costs on insulin and other critical drugs

Patient advocates say the big health insurer's move could provide an important signal that others will follow.
UnitedHealth Group has its headquarters in Minnetonka.

UnitedHealth Group raises outlook as quarterly profit again tops $5 billion

The Minnetonka-based health care giant beat analyst expectations and boosted its financial forecast for the year.
Patricia Lewis is the chief sustainability officer at UnitedHealth Group.

United Health Foundation pledges $100 million to help diversify health care workforce

The 10-year program will provide scholarships to 10,000 current and future clinical professionals from underrepresented backgrounds.
The MNsure call center in St. Paul.

Feds approve 'reinsurance' plan extension to control premiums on MNsure policies

The state Commerce Department says health insurance premiums on average statewide would have been 15 to 20% higher without the program between 2018 and 2022.