Local passion backed by national expertise

Garrett Leaf is CEO of SilverSummit Healthplan, which was established this year.

Garrett Leaf is CEO of SilverSummit Healthplan, a Medicaid provider that launched in Nevada this year. It is part of Centene Corp., the nation’s largest provider on the Health Insurance Marketplace. Leaf joined Centene in 2014 as senior vice president of finance for the company’s California health plan, and brings that experience here with the aim of providing every Nevadan access to health care insurance, including those in “bare” counties who were otherwise not expected to have any options for coverage next year.

Do you have any recent news you’d like to share?

SilverSummit Healthplan is proud to offer our Ambetter product on the Health Insurance Marketplace to all counties in Nevada, effective Jan. 1. This ensures that all residents have at least one health care option.

What sets you apart from other insurers in the market?

SilverSummit is backed by Centene’s expertise and technological solutions, but we are a locally based, staffed, managed and run company. Many of our employees and management team are from the local communities we serve, and our decision-making is proudly rooted here.

What are some of your programs that help children?

Among the programs SilverSummit offers are Vision Benefits, our Start Smart For Your Baby program, Boys and Girls Club memberships and a second nebulizer (a drug-delivery device used to administer medication in the form of a mist).

With our Vision Benefits, we offer repair or replacement of glasses once per 12 months.

Our Start Smart For Your Baby program is designed for expecting or recent mothers to take care of themselves and their babies through the exchange of information via mail, telephone and the internet.

We offer Boys and Girls Club memberships to eligible youths to encourage social interaction and the development of leadership skills.

Finally, we offer a second nebulizer for children to take to school to avoid them having to bring one back and forth from home.

What drew you to the health insurance industry?

I wish I could say it was well planned and executed. I was working in the property and casualty insurance field in a finance capacity, and received a cold call from a recruiter regarding an opportunity with a large health insurance carrier. That was 1987 and I have been in the health insurance field ever since. I spent much of my early health insurance career in the finance area but have had the opportunity to branch out into many operational areas.

What is the best business advice you’ve received?

My father always told us growing up that if something was worth doing, it was worth doing well. This advice has been equally relevant and appropriate in both my personal and business lives.

What’s the biggest issue facing Southern Nevada?

There are a number of health care-related issues we face, from the need for additional access to primary care and specialty providers, skilled nursing and long-term beds, and services for the homeless. Opioid use and abuse is another issue that affects many aspects of health care delivery and cost.

What has been your most exciting professional project?

Working with the Governor’s Office to formulate and deliver a solution to cover the bare counties on the Health Insurance Marketplace was exhilarating and rewarding. It’s a tremendous feeling to know we can positively affect the lives of people who need us the most.

What’s your favorite place to have fun in Las Vegas?

You will probably be able to find me at many Vegas Golden Knights games this year.

Describe your management style.

I believe in the implementation of process and discipline in everything we do. I am a firm but fair leader who takes an active role in coaching and developing our team members to excel.

Where do you see your company in 10 years?

I would like to be able to say that SilverSummit positively changed the delivery of health care and the member engagement and awareness of healthy lifestyles, thereby transforming the overall health of the communities we serve.

If you could live anywhere else in the world, where would it be?

Zermatt, Switzerland, is one of my favorite destinations and is truly spectacular. With the Matterhorn and the rest of the Swiss Alps looming over the town, and the absence of cars, it is this self-contained beautiful village. The Swiss people are welcoming and gracious and make you feel at home in their little hamlet in the mountains.

What is your biggest pet peeve?

Tardiness. If you’re not 5 minutes early, you’re late.

What is something that people might not know about you?

Although I still cannot play all that well, I used to build custom guitars and basses out of my garage.