CareFirst Announces $15 Minimum Wage And Benefit Equity Changes For All Employees

Health benefit costs will be linked to employee compensation

Baltimore, Md. — CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield (CareFirst), the region’s largest health insurer, has set a $15 per hour minimum wage standard for all employees that went into effect earlier this year.

CareFirst has always met legal minimum wage requirements and has been committed to paying competitive wages. However, until this year, there remained some associates who fell below the $15 per hour rate that the company now recognizes as a minimum “living wage.”

While this change wasn’t legally required, it is consistent with CareFirst’s commitment to equitable treatment and the financial well-being of its employees. 

Effective this month, CareFirst also introduced a new benefit premium structure for employees, in which the cost of health benefits will vary depending on an employee’s compensation. Under this new structure all executives and higher-paid employees will pay more for their benefits while employees who earn less will pay less for their benefits.

 “CareFirst is dedicated to increasing access to health care, and we know an important factor in giving people access to care and keeping them healthy is making sure they have the means to secure housing, adequate nutrition and meet other basic needs”, said Brian D. Pieninck, President and CEO of CareFirst. “Core to our employees’ ability to meet their basic needs is making sure they are paid a living wage.

“Equally important is ensuring that the benefits we offer as a company -- including health insurance -- are structured through a lens of equity that strives to make the premium each employee pays are affordable. We are committed to continuously reviewing our policies to ensure they meet the test of providing our employees the ability to secure their basic needs.”

This new structure will result in approximately 70 percent of the organization’s 5,500-person workforce paying the same or less for coverage than they did in 2018.

In addition to the wage and benefit changes, CareFirst employees will continue to receive other benefits offered by the company, including but not limited to medical, dental and vision coverage, matching employees’ 401(k) contributions, company paid life and disability insurance and tuition reimbursement.

More information about benefits offered to CareFirst employees is available on the company’s Careers website.

About CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield

In its 82nd year of service, CareFirst, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, is a not-for-profit health care company which, through its affiliates and subsidiaries, offers a comprehensive portfolio of health insurance products and administrative services to 3.2 million individuals and groups in Maryland, the District of Columbia and Northern Virginia. In 2018, CareFirst invested $38 million to improve overall health, and increase the accessibility, affordability, safety and quality of health care throughout its market areas. To learn more about CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, visit our website at or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram.