Michigan Association of Health Plans

MAHP Women Leaders in Michigan Health Care: Melissa Holmquist

Over the month of March, we are promoting the inspirational women who lead Michigan’s health plans. Nearly half of MAHP member plan presidents/CEOs are women and influence the future of health care for residents around the state.

Melissa Holmquist is the Chief Executive Officer for the Upper Peninsula Health Plan (UPHP), which serves more than 50,000 Medicaid, Healthy Michigan Plan, Children with Special Health Care Services, and MI Health Link beneficiaries in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. She has been employed by UPHP for more than 20 years in a variety of positions and departments, including claims services, utilization management, operations, and government programs.

Over the course of your time as CEO of your health plan, what has been your proudest accomplishment?

My proudest accomplishment is continuing to cultivate a workplace environment that supports its employees that continue to put members first. Our amazing staff, in partnership with our providers and community, work very hard to ensure our member has the best service and access to the highest, quality care possible. We are here to serve the most vulnerable residents of the Upper Peninsula and our team members take that job very seriously.

The COVID-19 pandemic significantly changed the way we worked and engaged with members but our dedication to the mission never wavered. UPHP has been one of the top performing plans in Michigan and the nation for several years, and it is only because of our amazing staff that we continue to have the privilege to serve UP residents.

What would your advice be to a young woman who is entering her career?

Be bold! Set goals, work hard, and hold yourself accountable. Lead by example and do what is most impactful to the people you serve. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to take risks. Chances are you will make some mistakes but own up to them, learn from them, and move on. Advocate for yourself and what you believe in.

Too often we (as women) are too hard on ourselves and that can hinder our ability to take risks. UPHP is a great example that women make great leaders. 80% of our management (senior and mid-level managers) are women. Our C-Suite (CEO, COO, and CFO) is made up of a dynamic group of female leadership. Our company’s strong female presence has been a great factor in our company’s success. So set your goals high, continue to work hard, and you will be successful.

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