About WellFirst Health

Business people gathered in hallway looking at iPad


Why choose WellFirst Health — provided by SSM Health Plan?

We are all about creating a better kind of health insurance experience for individuals & families


We are 100% dedicated to your well-being. So our focus is always on you.Map of WellFirst Health Service area in Missouri and Illinois.

We unite physician, hospital and health insurance solutions to reduce health care costs, improve quality and deliver a better member and patient experience for you. We offer individual and family health insurance on the ACA Marketplace and Medicare Advantage coverage for adults age 65 and older.

Our service area includes St. Louis City and the surrounding four-county service area: Madison and St. Clair counties in Illinois, and St. Charles and St. Louis counties in Missouri. And WellFirst Health was developed right here in St. Louis by local health care and insurance professionals. Our providers are established and respected for their high-quality care.

Our local presence is backed by more than 35 years of insurance industry expertise through Dean Health Plan in Madison, Wis., so we know our way around health coverage that benefits you. 

Relationships matter at WellFirst Health. We want to know you, and we'll spend the time to help you be the healthiest you can be.

Meet our leaders

Les McPhearson, interim presidentLes McPhearson directly oversees all business operations for WellFirst Health Plan and leads the organization’s senior management team. In addition, Les collaborates with SSM Health’s care delivery leaders to develop and execute key strategic, clinical and operational priorities.

Les formerly served as Market President, Wisconsin for Navvis, a strategic business partner of SSM Health. 

A seasoned, values-based leader with more than 20 years of experience in the health care and insurance industry, Les spent 13 years at Humana in a variety of leadership roles. His experience spans IT, consumer innovation and mergers and acquisitions. He also served as Senior Vice President and Chief Client Officer for HealthSmart, following his time as CEO at United Benefit Advisors. 

His leadership experience includes service in the U.S. Navy as a lieutenant.

Les earned his BS in mathematics/computer science from Alabama’s Samford University and his MBA from the University of Louisville.

In his spare time, Les enjoys reading, running, working out and live music.
photograph of Loretta Lorenzen

Loretta Lorenzen's responsibilities include oversight of health plan provider networks strategy, development and ongoing management.

Loretta and her team designed and implemented our current value-based pay-for-performance provider contracting model, which aligns provider incentives and health plan goals relating to increased provider quality outcomes, patient satisfaction and effectiveness of care.

Prior to joining SSM Health-Dean Health Plan in 2011, Loretta held health plan and payor operations and contracting leadership roles at a number of leading managed care and provider organizations including Aetna, CIGNA, Ascension/Wheaton Franciscan Services Inc., and Assurant.

Her educational background includes earning her bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee where she majored in International Relations/Economics and German. Loretta also attended Marquette University, studying law and earning a Certificate in Management.

photograph of Brandon Sonne

Brandon is responsible for strategic direction and performance of WellFirst Health within the St. Louis market. He also oversees the financial planning, health distribution channels and sales team of the local WellFirst plan.

He recently joined the company after spending more than 10 years as a strategic leader in the healthcare industry, most recently at GuideWell (Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida) focusing on inorganic growth opportunities, with specific emphasis on growth in government programs. He also held other roles at HealthScape Advisors and PricewaterhouseCoopers in Chicago, Ill., where he focused on developing growth strategies, specifically through mergers, acquisitions, and/or new partnerships, for health care organizations.

Brandon received a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Brigham Young University. He also holds a Master of Business Administration with concentrations in finance, strategy and entrepreneurship at The University of Chicago Booth School of Business.