Michigan Association of Health Plans

UPHP CEO Melissa Holmquist Named to Crain’s 2020 Notable Women in Health

Upper Peninsula Health Plan is proud to announce that its Chief Executive Officer, Melissa Holmquist, has been named one of Crain’s 2020 Notable Women in Health. Holmquist joins 42 other distinguished leaders from throughout the state who were nominated by their peers to be considered for the award. The honorees were selected based on their career accomplishments, their involvement in nonprofits and community organizations, and evidence that they mentor others in their field.

“I’m extremely honored to be recognized amongst such an incredible group of female leaders in our state,” said Holmquist. “But even more so, I’m truly touched that I was nominated for this award by one of my peers.”

Holmquist has been with the health plan for 18 years, where she started as the receptionist upon graduating from Northern Michigan University. Since then, she has held eight different positions with UPHP prior to being promoted to Chief Executive Officer in July of 2018. Notable accomplishments throughout her tenure include playing an integral role in the implementation of the Healthy Michigan Plan in the Upper Peninsula (Michigan’s expanded Medicaid coverage), helping to establish UPHP as an integrated care organization through the MI Health Link (Medicare-Medicaid Plan) program, and developing Medicare Advantage plans for Upper Peninsula residents. Additionally, under Holmquist’s leadership, UPHP continually receives top honors statewide and nationally for its Medicaid and MI Health Link programs.

UPHP Director of Human Resource Services, Tanya Jennings – who hired Holmquist as a receptionist in 2002 – said Holmquist’s greatest strength is that she’s approachable. “Missie has quite literally climbed the ladder from the bottom to the top at UPHP, and I think that gives her a unique perspective that other leaders may not have. She has a way of relating to staff at all levels because she’s been there. They feel comfortable going to her with questions, concerns, and ideas, and I think that’s one of the main reasons for her success, and the success of this organization under her leadership.”

When asked what advice she would give to other up and coming female leaders in our communities, Holmquist said, “Be bold. Set goals, work hard, and hold yourself accountable. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to take risks. Chances are you will make mistakes along the way, but own up to them, learn from them, and move on.”

Outside of her work at UPHP, Holmquist is a frequent presenter at local, state, and national conferences, often speaking about Medicare-Medicaid initiatives and managing care in rural settings. She also serves on numerous boards, including Invest UP, Marquette County Economics Club, Medicaid Health Plans of America, and the Michigan Association of Health Plans. She’s a native of Crystal Falls, MI, and lives in Marquette, MI, with her husband and son.

Upper Peninsula Health Plan currently manages the care of nearly 50,000 Upper Peninsula residents enrolled in Michigan Medicaid, Children’s Special Health Care Services, the Healthy Michigan Plan, MI Health Link, and Medicare Advantage. Its network exceeds 2,000 providers. Learn more at www.uphp.com.