Posts for UPHP News

UPHP Encourages Managing Stress For Good Health
Posted on December 12, 2018

Marquette, MI – (Great Lakes Radio) – On the latest Upper Peninsula Health Plan update, the conversation focused on stress management and how it it’s key to staying healthy.

Steve Rudness, Clinical Coordinator with UPHP, joined the Sunny Morning Show today to talk about what stress is, how it can affect us and how to find ways to manage it.

Rudness explained that stress is a natural reaction in our bodies to external pressures that can be both physical and mental and it really only becomes an issue when we allow it to build up within us.

He said there are plenty of ways to manage stress, but one of the best ways is to simply take the time to take care of yourself by doing things you enjoy to do, whether it’s exercising, socializing or just having some quiet time alone.

Rudness also shared several resources to find help in managing your stress in order to live a healthy life.

LISTEN IN – Steve Rudness of Upper Peninsula Health Plan with more about stress management.

This story was originally posted here by Great Lakes Radio, Inc. on December 4, 2018.


UPHP Repeats as Top Scoring Medicare-Medicaid Plan on CAHPS Overall Rating
Posted on December 12, 2018

MARQUETTE – The Integrated Care Resource Center announced on Wednesday, December 12th that for the second year in a row Upper Peninsula Health Plan (UPHP) has tied for first place in the nation for overall rating of a Medicare-Medicaid Plan (MMP). UPHP was approved by the State of Michigan and the Centers for Medicare & Medicare Services (CMS) to provide the services of a dual eligible program called MI Health Link. The advantages of the MI Health Link program are to make member’s Medicare and Michigan Medicaid benefits work better together. MI Health Link members use one plan and one card for health care, behavioral health care, home and community based services, nursing home care, and medications.

Under the Medicare-Medicaid Financial Alignment Initiative, CMS measures consumer experience in multiple ways, including through beneficiary surveys such as the Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS) survey. Under the capitated financial alignment model, Medicare-Medicaid Plans (MMPs) are required to annually conduct the Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug (MA-PD) CAHPS survey. The MA-PD CAHPS survey is designed to measure important aspects of an individual’s health care experience including the accessibility to and quality of services.

As part of the MA-PD CAHPS survey, respondents are asked to rate their health plan on a scale from 0 to 10, where 0 is the worst health plan possible and 10 is the best health plan possible. The scores below are the percentage of the best possible score each contract earned:

“We are thrilled to be recognized for a second year in a row as one of the top Medicare-Medicaid Health Plans in the nation. The credit for this recognition goes to our hard working staff and network of providers who dedicate themselves to serving our members. It is their effort that is reflected in our member satisfaction via this CAHPS survey,” said UPHP CEO, Melissa Holmquist.

In order to report MA-PD CAHPS in a given year, health plans, including MMPs, must have a minimum of 600 enrollees as of July 1st of the preceding calendar year. In early 2018, surveys were sent to a sample of Medicare-Medicaid Plan enrollees with at least six months of continuous enrollment. Enrollees were asked to evaluate their health care experience over the previous six months. As a result, 41 MMPs participating in nine capitated model demonstrations were able to report CAHPS during the 2018 reporting cycle.

CMS anticipates making additional information regarding 2018 CAHPS results under the Medicare-Medicaid Financial Alignment Initiative available soon. For more information on the MA-PD CAHPS survey see

About UPHP

Upper Peninsula Health Plan currently serves nearly 50,000 members across five product lines (Michigan Medicaid, Children with Special Health Care Services, Healthy Michigan Plan, MI Health Link, and Medicare Advantage) and its network exceeds 2,000 providers. Learn more at

UPHP to Participate in National Prescription Drug Take Back Day
Posted on October 22, 2018

Ann Arbor, Mich – The United States is currently experiencing an epidemic of prescription drug misuse and abuse. Opioid overdose deaths in Michigan have almost tripled in five years. To help turn the tide on this epidemic, Upper Peninsula Health Plan is partnering with the Michigan Opioid Prescribing Engagement Network (Michigan OPEN) and the Marquette County Sheriff’s Department to host a medication take-back event on Saturday, October 27 from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm. The host site for the event is the Westwood Mall parking lot in front of the old Younkers building.

Did you know?

  • Every 10 minutes a child visits the emergency room for medication poisoning
  • 12.5 million people age 12 and older misused opioids in the last year
  • Three in five teens say prescription pain medication is easy to get from their parents’ medicine cabinet

Community opioid and medication take-back events provide a safe process for disposing of unused medications while protecting our communities, children, and the environment. Remove the risk from your home and bring your unused opioids to the medication take-back event at:

Westwood Mall Parking Lot
3020 US-41
Marquette, MI 49855

For more information or to find other take back event locations throughout Michigan, please visit



UPHP Medicare Advantage Plans Add LIVE FIT Fitness Benefit
Posted on October 18, 2018

Marquette –Upper Peninsula Health Plan (UPHP) is excited to announce a new fitness benefit, LIVE FIT, to its two Medicare Advantage plans: UPHP Advantage (HMO) and UPHP Choice (HMO). Both UPHP Advantage and UPHP Choice cover hospital insurance (Part A) and medical insurance (Part B) as well as prescription drug coverage (Part D). Dental, hearing, and vision services are also included under UPHP Advantage. UPHP Choice has a $0 monthly premium with an additional dental benefit. New in 2019, UPHP’s Medicare Advantage plans will offer a fitness benefit that will allow access to classes, equipment, and events at participating health clubs.

In January 2019, LIVE FIT will be available at no additional cost to members enrolled in eligible UPHP Medicare Advantage plans. The benefit will be available throughout Michigan’s Upper Peninsula across a large network of participating fitness centers. Plan participants will have access to the same services, privileges, classes and programs as the fitness centers’ standard members, including a waiver of all traditional enrollment fees. UPHP members enrolled for plan year 2019 will be eligible to receive this new fitness benefit.

“LIVE FIT offers people enrolled in UPHP Medicare Advantage plans an opportunity to stay active and improve their health. The opportunity to go to a local gym at no additional costs is a great value to our Medicare Advantage members on a fixed income,” said Melissa Holmquist, CEO of Upper Peninsula Health Plan.

The following fitness centers, in alphabetical order by county, are participating in the LIVE FIT network:

  • Chippewa County:
    • All In One Fitness
    • War Memorial Hospital Fitness Center
  • Delta County:
    • Sullivan’s Health & Fitness
  • Gogebic County:
    • Main Street Fitness
  • Houghton County:
    • Aspirus Fitness Center
    • Portage Fitness Center
    • Snap Fitness of Houghton
  • Luce County:
    • Helen Newberry Joy Wellness Center – Newberry
  • Mackinac County:
    • Helen Newberry Joy Wellness Center – Curtis
  • Marquette County:
    • Anytime Fitness of Harvey
    •  Joe’s Gym
    • NMU PEIF Recreation Center
    • Perform 4 Life
    • Synergy Fitness
  • Ontonagon County:
    • Aspirus Rehab & Fitness
  • Schoolcraft County:
    • Schoolcraft Memorial Hospital Fitness Center

Fitness centers can be nominated for the network at

“Anytime Fitness of Harvey looks forward to serving UPHP Medicare Advantage members as part of the LIVE FIT network,” said Jamie Thayer. “We look forward to working together to provide more fitness choices to seniors, both inside and outside of the gym.”

To learn more about Medicare and understand your options, visit to download our FREE Medicare guide.

If you have questions, call UPHP Customer Service at 1-877-349-9324 (TTY 711), Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time, with weekend hours from October 1 through March 31st. The call is free. Upper Peninsula Health Plan is an HMO plan with a Medicare contract. Enrollment in Upper Peninsula Health Plan depends on contract renewal. Learn more at

About UPHP

Upper Peninsula Health Plan is celebrating 20 years of making the U.P. healthier. We currently serve over 47,000 members across five product lines (Michigan Medicaid, MIChild, Children with Special Health Care Services, MI Health Link, and Medicare Advantage) and its network exceeds 2,000 providers.


UPHP Launches Healthy Kids, Healthy Futures Campaign
Posted on July 05, 2018

Marquette, MI – (Great Lakes Radio) – “Healthy Kids, Healthy Futures” is a joint effort between Upper Peninsula Health Plan and Upper Peninsula Health Group designed to highlight the importance of annual preventative care for kids of all ages.

UPHP Clinical Coordinator Chris Rhoades joined the Sunny Morning Show today to share some of the highlights of this initiative.

Rhoades said UPHP is teaming up with roughly 25 different primary care practices across the U.P. and promoting the campaign throughout the Upper Peninsula.

He said the overall goal is to make sure area children get the regular health care they need for a healthy future.

Rhoades said it runs through August 31st and there will be prizes for the provider practices that can get the most kids through the door as well as drawings for the kids who go in and get the care they need.

LISTEN IN – UPHP Clinical Coordinator Chris Rhoades with more about the “Healthy Kids, Healthy Futures” initiative.

This story was originally posted here by Great Lakes Radio, Inc. on July 3, 2018.

Upper Peninsula Health Plan Sees Changes At The Top
Posted on June 16, 2018

Melissa Holmquist and Dennis Smith of UPHP

Marquette, MI – (Great Lakes Radio News) – Transitions are happening in the leadership at the Upper Peninsula Health Plan organization.

Long-time Upper Peninsula Health Plan (UPHP) President and CEO Dennis Smith announced his retirement, effective July 1st, late last year, and as a result, COO Melissa Holmquist was named as Smith’s successor.

Smith and Holmquist both joined the Sunny Morning Show on June 5th to talk about the transition that is underway at the Marquette-based agency.

Smith talked about several of the key successes that have happened under his watch, including steady and consistent growth, and productive alliances in the U.P. health care landscape that have been facilitated by UPHP.

Holmquist shared some of her background with UPHP and what she hopes to see in the future of the group as she takes over the reins.

LISTEN IN – Retiring CEO Dennis Smith and incoming CEO Melissa Holmquist talk transitions.

This story was originally posted here by Great Lakes Radio Inc.

UPHP Names Melanie Bicigo Chief Operating Officer
Posted on June 05, 2018

MARQUETTE – Upper Peninsula Health Plan announces Melanie Bicigo as Chief Operating Officer. Long-time Upper Peninsula Health Plan (UPHP) President and CEO Dennis Smith announced his retirement (effective July 1st) late last year, starting a waterfall of opportunity at UPHP. Melissa Holmquist was named Smith’s successor as CEO, leaving the position of Chief Operating Officer (COO) vacant. With extensive health plan experience, Melanie Bicigo brings invaluable knowledge and leadership to the COO position.

A native of Crystal Falls, Bicigo is a Northern Michigan University alumna. Chief Operating Officer will be the ninth position Melanie Bicigo has held within the company in her 16-year tenure. Most recently, she has served as the Compliance and Risk Management Officer responsible for execution and oversight of UPHP’s corporate compliance program and managing risk exposure. Bicigo implemented initiatives to match the health care regulatory environment and achieve organizational compliance. In her role as COO, Melanie Bicigo will report to the newly appointed President and CEO of Upper Peninsula Health Plan, Melissa Holmquist. She will now oversee the following departments: Government Programs, Physician Services, Credentialing, Customer Services, and Reception. “I am honored to have been offered this opportunity and to be part of the new leadership at the Upper Peninsula Health Plan,” said Bicigo.

With over fifteen years experience in various departments at UPHP, Melanie Bicigo has the experience and institutional knowledge to excel in this new position. Bicigo was the first full time Compliance Officer and built that department from scratch. Her attention to detail and focus on process improvement will be valuable assets to her as Chief Operating Officer. “Melanie brings a wealth of experience in Compliance, Claims, and Enrollment to the Chief Operating Officer position. She has served as an instrumental member of the Senior Management team for the past five years and is uniquely qualified to help UPHP deliver coordinated, high-quality care,” noted Holmquist.

UPHP Can Help With Transportation to Medical Appointments
Posted on May 04, 2018

Marquette, MI – (Great Lakes Radio) – For many Upper Peninsula Health Plan enrolled members, transportation assistance is essential to connect them with the care they need. Without it, they possibly would not receive necessary medical care to prevent future illness.

Mandie Haile, UPHP Transportation Coordinator, joined the SUNNY Morning Show today to talk about how the services help with non-emergent medical transportation assistance to medical appointments for enrolled members.

Haile explained that the assistance is provided through direct mileage reimbursement, local bus and taxi services or volunteer drivers as needed.

She said to find out more about how this specialized assistance helps UPHP enrolled members, contact the UPHP Transportation Department direct by dialing 1-800-835-2556 and follow the prompts to reach the department.

Haile added that UPHP also has an online tool to request transportation assistance which is located at the UPHP website at

LISTEN IN – Mandie Haile, UPHP Transportation Coordinator, with more about transportation services.


UPHP Names Jennifer Schon Employee of the Year
Posted on April 26, 2018

Marquette, MI – Upper Peninsula Health Plan (UPHP) proudly names Jennifer Schon 2017 Employee of the Year. Each year, UPHP names an Employee of the Year from a pool of Employee of the Quarter and “Caught ‘Cha” candidates. Each Employee of the Quarter is nominated by their manager or a member of the Senior Management team. The nominees are then reviewed and a winner is selected by the Senior Management team. UPHP employees also participate in a peer recognition program called “Caught ‘Cha”. This is an employee driven, incentive program in which all employees can write a “Caught ‘Cha” note and give it to someone they caught doing something great. Along with each Employee of the Quarter, the two highest “Caught ‘Cha” recipients each year are entered as candidates in a company-wide vote for Employee of the Year.

“I feel honored to have been voted Employee of the Year by my peers. To be elected amongst this group of excellent employees is unbelievable! I am truly grateful,” said Schon.

Jennifer Schon grew up in Fenwick, Michigan. Her parents purchased a resort on the Au Train Lake when she was in college and she chose to attend Northern Michigan University where she earned a B.S. in Clinical Health Science. Jen has worked at Upper Peninsula Health Plan for nearly four years. She was hired as a Customer Service Representative and eagerly learned as much as she could about all UPHP product lines. She is now a member of the Human Resources team at UPHP, currently holding the position of Human Resource Generalist. Reflecting on her time with the company, Jen noted that above all the community fundraising events, company picnics, holiday parties, and employee celebrations, her favorite memory is her first day at UPHP. There is a culture here to go above and beyond to greet and help our new employees feel welcome. That is something that has stayed with her and that she tries to pay forward to new employees.

Jen’s supervisor, Tanya Jennings, attributes her success in large part to her work ethic. “Jen has become an invaluable asset to the HR department during her three years in HR. Her ability to learn quickly allowed her to grow her HR knowledge immensely and to position herself among UPHP managers and employees as a trusted and valuable resource for questions and concerns. Jen is extremely helpful to staff and will go the extra step to research a problem or issue and offer a potential solution when presented a new scenario. UPHP is fortunate to have Jen as an employee,” said Jennings, Director of Human Resources.

Jennifer and her husband, Brandon, live in Harvey with their 4-month-old son, Nolan, and their three dogs.

U.P. Perinatal Care Focus of Newly-Formed Collaborative Effort
Posted on April 04, 2018

Jessica Serman & Janey Joffee

Marquette, MI – (Great Lakes Radio News– The Upper Peninsula Health Plan and U.P. Health Care Solutions have partnered up to form a collaborative group addressing the health of mothers and their babies in Upper Michigan.

The Upper Peninsula Perinatal Collaborative was formed last July to make sure mothers and babies are healthy and thriving across the region.

Jessica Serman, Clinical Services Manager with the Case Management Department at UPHP, and Janey Joffee, Manager at U.P. Health Care Solutions, joined the SUNNY Morning Show with Walt & Mike today to share more information about this collaboration.

Joffee said there are a wide array of healthcare based stakeholders from across the region in the Collaborative.

Serman explained that the group is currently identifying a series of goals to improve birth outcomes for mothers and babies and to eliminate health disparities across the 15 counties in the U.P.

She added that Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome and maternal opioid use have been identified as key priority areas in the Upper Peninsula.

Joffee said the Collaborative is looking to increase health and wellness education through the compilation, distribution and maintenance of resource directories targeted at mothers and families, health care providers, and service agencies across the U.P.

LISTEN IN – Jessica Serman and Janey Joffee discuss the Upper Peninsula Perinatal Collaborative.

CLICK HERE – For more information about the Upper Peninsula Perinatal Collaborative.