Posts for UPHP News

Michigan State University Extension Offers Fall Prevention and Physical Activity Programs for Older Adults
Posted on May 19, 2020

Tai Chi for Arthritis and Fall Prevention  

What is Tai Chi? Tai Chi is slow movement, deep breathing, and mindfulness to help people increase strength and balance.  


  • Improve balance
  • Increase muscular strength
  • Improve mobility
  • Increase flexibility
  • Improve mental health
  • Decrease pain
  • Prevent falls

Currently, MSU Extension is offering online Tai Chi to keep older adults active and safe at home. 

How can I join? Visit: 

A Matter of Balance 

What is A Matter of Balance? Participants learn to reduce the fear of falling, set goals for increasing activity, make changes to reduce fall risks at home, and exercise to increase strength and balance.

How can I join? Visit: 

For health care providers to refer their patients to a fall prevention program, visit:

Upper Peninsula Health Care Solutions to Host Virtual Community Resource Forum
Posted on May 04, 2020

Upper Peninsula Health Care Solutions will hold its second annual Marquette County Community Resource Forum Thursday, May 14, from 10 a.m. to noon. This year’s theme, “Building an Informed and Resilient Community Collaborative,” speaks to the current state of our ever-changing community needs amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The forum will bring together community-based organizations from around the county in a virtual setting to inform one another about available resources and discuss how we can continue to work together throughout the year so we can evolve and be ready to assist our residents through the next challenges we face.

Attendees have the option to listen in only, or listen and present on your organization’s behalf.

Register to PRESENT:

  • Registration will close May 12 at 5 p.m.
  • Presentation order list will be made available to all presenters by May 12 to accommodate for any changes needed.
  • If you register to present you do NOT have to register to attend.
  • There is no video required for presenting at this event.

Register to ATTEND only:

  • This link is to attend in listen only mode.
  • Please share this link with anyone who may be interested, anyone who assists in connecting community members with resources; coworkers, peers, patient navigators, community health workers, care managers, care coordinators, social workers or interested community members.
  • If you register to present you do NOT have to register to attend.

For questions or additional information about presenting on your organization’s behalf, please contact Claudia Chavez-Rhoades at UPHCS at CChavez@uphcs.org12 

Upper Peninsula Health Plan Shares Info About Strengthening Immunity
Posted on April 08, 2020

This story was originally posted here on April 7, 2020, by mediaBrew Communications:

Marquette, MI – Nicole Sandstrom, RN, Clinical Services Manager at Upper Peninsula Health Plan joined Mark & Walt in the Morning today to discuss ways individuals can boost their immune systems amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

Sandstrom talked about several aspects of immunity, including what the body’s immune system is and what it does. She also explained some of the key ways our bodies build immunity and what people can do to boost their immune systems naturally.

Another important piece of information she shared was what are the best things are that people can do to avoid getting sick, with COVID-19 or any virus. She also talked about the importance and role of vaccinations in maintaining and strengthening immunity.

LISTEN – Nicole Sandstrom with UPHP with more about our immunity.

UPHP COVID-19 Operational Update – A Letter From Our CEO
Posted on March 24, 2020

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

In the wake of Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s March 23 Executive Order to “Stay Home, Stay Safe,” I would like to personally share how Upper Peninsula Health Plan (UPHP) will continue to serve our members, providers, and community. The order directs all Michigan citizens to stay home, except for critical work and needs, and all nonessential businesses to temporarily close.

UPHP is considered an essential business and therefore will remain operational throughout the duration of the Executive Order, which is in effect until April 13, 2020. Though our physical building is closed to visitors (with the exception of mail delivery services), the vast majority of our staff are now working remotely. Our members and provider network can rest assured that we are prepared to provide the same level of service and quality they have come to expect in our 20 years of serving the Upper Peninsula.

  • Our dedicated Customer Service and Transportation teams will continue to be available by telephone during our usual business hours.
  • Pharmacy services, such as filling needed prescriptions, mail orders, prior authorizations, medication therapy management, and drug management programs, will continue as usual.
  • We will continue to accept, process, and pay claims submitted by our provider network.
  • Enrollments and membership changes for all lines of business will be processed as usual.
  • Although they can no longer do in-person visits, our care managers are still accessible to our members by phone and email.

As we move forward, we will continue to update you on our efforts and plans as they evolve. These are unprecedented times for us all, but we will get through them just as we have through other challenges we have faced – by coming together and supporting one another. Until then, stay calm, stay healthy, stay home, and know that we are here for you.

Be well,

Melissa Holmquist
Chief Executive Officer
Upper Peninsula Health Plan

UPHP Coverage Information Updates for Members Amid COVID-19 Outbreak
Posted on March 16, 2020
COVID-19 Update for UPHP Members

Marquette, Mich. – Upper Peninsula Health Plan (UPHP) will be taking action to ensure the health and safety of our members during the worldwide outbreak of a new coronavirus. The disease caused by the new coronavirus, called COVID-19, causes symptoms including fever, cough and shortness of breath. The number of cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. continue to spread from state-to-state and are increasing daily.

The information below outlines coverage changes for UPHP amid the COVID-19 outbreak. These changes will take effect immediately until further notice.

Diagnostic Testing Coverage Related to COVID-19

  • For all UPHP members types (which includes Medicare Advantage, MI Health Link, Medicaid, Health Michigan Plan, and Children With Special Health Care Services [CSHCS]): UPHP is waiving all costs associated with any diagnostic laboratory tests for COVID-19, when used in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) testing recommendations. This measure will ensure patient testing and ensuing care is completed in an efficient, coordinated way with specialists at every level.
  • For all UPHP member types: UPHP is waiving prior authorizations for diagnostic tests and for covered services related to COVID-19 that are medically necessary and in accordance with CDC guidelines. Prior authorization is approval from a plan that is required before the plan pays for certain services, medical equipment, prescriptions.

Prescription Medication Coverage

  • For UPHP MI Health Link, Medicaid, Healthy Michigan Plan, and CSHCS members: UPHP is removing the current 30-day prescription limit and allowing 90-day supplies for maintenance medications, except for Controlled Substances and Specialty Medications.
  • For UPHP Medicare Advantage (UPHP Advantage and UPHP Choice) members: UPHP continues to encourage members to utilize 90-day supplies of medications at their local or mail-order pharmacies.

Telehealth Services

Individuals seeking care for mild issues other than COVID-19 should consider telehealth options in order to avoid clinics and health care facilities with COVID-19 patients. This will help to stop the spread of disease and reduce the burden on health care facilities that may be overwhelmed with patients seeking care for respiratory illness.

  • For UPHP Medicare Advantage (UPHP Advantage and UPHP Choice) members: UPHP is waiving all copays for telehealth services for the next 90 days.
  • For UPHP MI Health Link, Medicaid, Healthy Michigan Plan, and CSHCS members: Access to telehealth services has been expanded by the State of Michigan and will be a covered benefit until further notice.
    • Note: Telehealth services must meet Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and Michigan Department of Health & Human Services guidelines, be HIPAA compliant, and be furnished by a physician or other authorized practitioner.
  • All UPHP member types: A 24-hour Nurse Advice Line is available anytime of the day or night at no cost to members. This help over the phone can answer your questions regarding symptoms and help point you in the right direction for any next steps in care. If you have questions about your health, please call the 24-hour Nurse Advice Line at 1-844-411-3695.

This is situation is developing quickly and information is constantly being updated as officials learn more about the virus. We will continue to track all updates regarding the disease’s activity, symptoms, travel restrictions and risk assessments from our federal, state, and local partners. UPHP staff are working diligently to provide our members with the utmost level of care and access to services at this time. Please visit for up-to-date member information or call UPHP Customer Service at 1-800-835-2556 (TTY: 711). 

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

UPHP CEO Melissa Holmquist Named to Crain’s 2020 Notable Women in Health
Posted on March 16, 2020

Marquette, Mich. – 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

Melissa Holmquist
UPHP Reminds You That March Is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month and to Make Sure You Get Screened
Posted on March 04, 2020
Chris Rhoads

Marquette, MI – On the latest Upper Peninsula Health Plan Update, the conversation focused on Colorectal Cancer Screening and Awareness. Chris Rhoades, clinical coordinator, UPHP, and Tom Rich, health systems manager, state & primary care systems, American Cancer Society, joined Mark & Walt in the Morning as March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.

They explained that colorectal cancer is the fourth most common form of cancer diagnosed, and the second leading cause of death from cancer in the United States. But, they added, it’s one of the most preventable forms of cancer due to effectiveness of screening.

They talked about who should get screened, the different types of screening, symptoms of the disease, and genetic factors to be aware of as you approach the age of 50. They encouraged everyone age 50 and older to stay in contact with their doctors and make sure that some type of colorectal cancer screening is done.

LISTEN – Chris Rhoades and Tom Rich with more about colorectal cancer and screening.

This story was originally posted here on March 3, 2020.

UPHP Reminding Members of Important Healthy Michigan Plan Information
Posted on February 07, 2020
Melanie Bicigo

This article was original posted here by mediaBrew Communications Feb. 4, 2020.

Marquette, MI – Upper Peninsula Health Plan is reminding their members who are in the Healthy Michigan Plan that there are some changes that must be followed.  UPHP Chief Operating Officer Melanie Bicigo joined Mark & Walt in the Morning to share the latest information.

Bicigo said, effective January 1, 2020, Michigan law is requiring some Healthy Michigan Plan beneficiaries to report 80 hours per calendar month of work or other activities to the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services in order to keep their coverage. Beneficiaries must report their work or other activities each month, and failure to report activities for three months in one year could result in loss of their health care coverage.

She added that are three ways a Healthy Michigan Plan member can report this information:

First, online. If you have a MI Bridges account, use the MI Bridges Portal by visiting If you don’t have an account yet, you can register online.

Second, by phone. You can call the HMP Work Requirements and Exemption Reporting line at 1-833-895-4355.

And third, in person. Just go right to your local MDHHS office and they can help you onsite.  Theer is also information about available resources can be found online through MI Bridges.

Bicigo said that people with questions can call Upper Peninsula Health Plan 1-800-835-2556 or stop in to our UPHP office in Marquette for help.  There are onsite Community Health Workers that can guide people to employment resources, or help report hours online or by phone.

LISTEN – UPHP Chief Operating Officer Melanie Bicigo with important Healthy Michigan Plan information.

UPHP Earns Top National Honor for Medicare-Medicaid Plan Member Experience
Posted on January 29, 2020

Marquette, Mich. – The Integrated Care Resource Center announced this week that Upper Peninsula Health Plan (UPHP) MI Health Link (MHL) has once again been named one of the top scoring Medicare-Medicaid Plans (MMPs) in the nation for overall health plan rating. This marks the fourth year in a row that UPHP MHL has received this top honor out of a group of more than 40 MMPs participating in demonstration regions across the United States.

UPHP MHL is a health care option for adults over the age of 21 who are enrolled in both Medicare and Michigan Medicaid. UPHP was approved by the State of Michigan and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to provide the services for Upper Peninsula residents who are eligible for the program. UPHP MHL members use one plan and one ID card for health care, behavioral health care, home-and community-based services, nursing home care, and medications. Additionally, members are assigned their own UPHP Care Coordinator to help them create a personal care plan, making getting care easier and more effective.

“We’re incredibly proud to be recognized as one of the top plans in nation every year since Michigan began participating in the Medicare-Medicaid Financial Alignment Initiative (FAI) – something no other plan has done nationally. It is our dedicated staff and provider network who deserve the credit for this recognition. Their passion for serving our members is what is reflected in our member satisfaction survey,” said UPHP Chief Executive Officer, Melissa Holmquist. “We’re also proud to see two other Michigan plans amongst the top; it really shows that Michigan is leading the nation when it comes to health care.”

Each year, CMS measures consumers experience and satisfaction with their MMP in multiple ways, including through beneficiary surveys such as the Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS) survey. UPHP is required to administer the CAPHS survey annually, which is designed to measure important aspects of an individual’s health care experience, including access to care and quality of services.

As part of the CAHPS survey, respondents (who are required to have at least six months of continuous enrollment to participate) were 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. UPHP MHL missed full ownership of the top spot by just a few decimal points.

MMPStateScore (Out of 100)
Healthspring Life & Health Insurance Company TX92
Upper Peninsula Health PlanMI92
Amerigroup TexasTX90
AmeriHealth MichiganMI89
Neighborhoods Health Plan of RIRI89
UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of TexasTX89
HAP MidwestMI89

Health plans, including MMPs, must have a minimum of 600 enrollees as of July 1 of the preceding calendar year in order to report CAHPS. CMS anticipates making additional information regarding 2019 CAHPS results under the Medicare-Medicaid FAI available soon. For more information on the CAHPS survey, visit More information on the Medicare-Medicaid FAI can be found on the CMS website.

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

Upper Peninsula Health Plan Shares Tips For Beating Seasonal Affective Disorder
Posted on January 13, 2020
Jennifer Riley on GL Radio

Marquette, MI –  On our latest Upper Peninsula Health Plan update, we heard from Jennifer Riley, Community Health Worker with UPHP, with information about SAD, or seasonal affective disorder.

Riley explained the SAD is a type of depression related to changes in seasons and it begins and ends at about the same times every year. She outlined some of the major symptoms of the condition and what some of the causes are believed to be.

She also talked about how SAD is different from the usual “winter blues” we can sometime feel during the winter months and what to do if you suspect you have it, including seeing your doctor.

Riley added that in addition to seeking help from your doctor, there are other things you can do to improve SAD symptoms and lift your mood. First, try making your environment sunnier and brighter. Second, exercise regularly and third, get outside, because even on cold, cloudy days, outdoor light can help.

LISTEN – Jennifer Riley from UPHP with more about SAD, or seasonal affective disorder.

This article was original posted here by mediaBrew Communications Jan. 7, 2019.