SUNBURY — Northumberland County commissioners unanimously approved a $5.2 million contract Friday morning with Geisinger Health Plan to provide health insurance coverage for county employees in 2019.

Approving Geisinger as the health insurance provider during a special meeting were Commissioners Kym Best, Sam Schiccatano and Rick Shoch, who participated by teleconference.

The cost of the coverage is 13.81 percent higher than the 2018 contract with Aetna, which totals approximately $4.6 million.

The approved plan, which covers 365 of the county’s 525 employees, is approximately $1 million less than competitive bids submitted by Aetna ($6.7 million) and Capital Blue ($6.1 million). It takes effect Jan. 1.

Schiccatano commended county human resources director Joseph Picarelli and Geisinger officials for negotiating the contract that totals $5,250,648.96.

On a 2-1 vote with Best opposed, the commissioners authorized execution of an agreement to sell 10 acres of land near the new county jail in Coal Township to Vinyanor LLC for $1.5 million.

Vinyanor is the holding company for Parea BioSciences, which plans to establish a medical marijuana facility at the site.

Without any extensions, solicitor Frank W. Garrigan said the sale should be completed within 75 days.

Schiccatano pointed out that the land must be approved for subdivision by Coal Township officials before the sale can be completed.

In May, Schiccatano and Shoch granted an option to Vinyanor to purchase the land. Best opposed the move.

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