Excellus Health Plan — which includes Excellus BlueCross Blue Shield and Univera Healthcare — is increasing its minimum wage to $18 an hour for all of its 4,000 employees.
The pay bump will affect 629 workers, which is 15 percent of the company's workforce, according to The Buffalo News.
The shift from $15 to $18 an hour represents an estimated $2.4 million increase in payroll expenses but mimics increases throughout Excellus' home state of New York.
It also serves as an answer to labor shortages, according to Art Wingerter, president of Univera Healthcare.
"I've never seen a time when the first topic of conversation with every employer and employer group we have is what a challenge it is to hire employees right now, from the Tim Hortons to the large manufacturers," Mr. Wingerter told The Buffalo News. "It's no secret. It's very evident out in the community today."