Harvey D. Cotton
Harvey Cotton draws on more than 30 years of industry experience and 15 years of practice at Ropes & Gray to bring a diversified approach to all aspects of health and welfare benefit design and administration.
Knowledgeable about the legal aspects of benefits administration as well as industry trends and innovative approaches in benefit design, Harvey regularly advises employers in all sectors on ERISA, COBRA, HIPAA, ACA and Internal Revenue Code compliance, and supports corporate clients engaged in the purchase and sale of companies. He also writes and speaks widely on health care reform and benefit design issues.
Having served as a deputy general counsel for a large tax-exempt health care organization, Harvey has experienced many of the issues facing his clients. These organizations rely on him to anticipate trends and provide practical advice that reflects both the changing legal and benefits landscape and the many financial and cultural factors benefits professionals and counsel must consider when managing employee benefit and executive compensation matters for their active employee and retiree populations. Most recently he has been advising clients on legal and other considerations related to administering employee benefit plans during the COVID-19 outbreak and to ensuring compliance with health plan transparency requirements.
Harvey’s clients include colleges and universities, including Harvard University, Stanford University and Northeastern University; hospital systems, including NYU Langone Medical Center, Stanford Health Care, Stanford Children’s Hospital and Boston Children’s Hospital; and large public companies, including The TJX Companies, Inc. and Hasbro.
- Innovative Plan Design. Harvey has advised clients seeking to establish benefit programs to manage chronic conditions and high-cost care on issues such as data sharing, HIPAA and ERISA compliance and employee communication. He has also worked with hospital systems exploring creation of narrow network plans involving their own providers and medical facilities.
- Plan Review and Redesign. Harvey regularly works with employers considering changes to their health and welfare benefits. He has advised clients who have modified health plan options, expanded health plan benefits, considered transitions from fully-insured to self-insured coverage, redesigned employee communications, conducted enrollment audits and implemented wellness programs.
- Regulatory Compliance. Harvey has successfully represented clients in dealings with state insurance regulators and has appeared before representatives of the Department of the Treasury and the IRS. He has also worked with the Department of Labor to address a variety of plan compliance and administrative issues, including the sponsoring of multiple employer welfare arrangements (MEWAs) and the offering of high-deductible health plans.
- Quoted, “If you use your company’s abortion travel benefits, will your boss find out?,” CNN Business (July 6, 2022)
- Quoted, “As more companies cover abortion travel insurance plans, are interstate travel bans next?,” USA TODAY (July 6, 2022)
- Cited, “Dobbs Ruling Complicates Abortion Healthcare Coverage,” The Washington Post (July 2, 2022)
- Co-author, “Rutledge vs. PCMA: The future of state regulation of pharmacy benefit,” Westlaw Today (June 25, 2021)
- Quoted, “High Court ERISA Case Has States, Pharmacies On Edge” Law360 (January 17, 2020)
- Quoted, “Using An HSA To Fund LTC,” Financial Advisor (May 1, 2018)
- Quoted, “HSAs: Little Understood, But Here To Stay,” Financial Advisor (June 28, 2017)
- Quoted, “Fraud case highlights hazards for hospitals with insurance plans” Modern Healthcare (September 10, 2015)
- “Employers, Consider Refreshed Options Under ACA,” Law360 (March 21, 2014)
- Quoted, “Final Regs Provide Simplified Options for Employer Reporting of Health Care Coverage,” Federal Tax Weekly (March 13, 2014)
- Quoted, “IRS Issues Final Regs on Code Sec. 6055 Reporting by Providers,” Federal Tax Weekly (March 13, 2014)
- Co-author, “Complying With IRS Guidance On Same-Sex Marriage” Tax Analysts’ Tax Notes Today (September 16, 2013)
- Quoted, “Final Regs Describe Requirements For Individual Mandate Under Affordable Care Act,” Federal Tax Weekly (September 4, 2013)
- Quoted, “Administration Delays PPACA’s Employer Reporting, Waives Employer Mandate Until 2015,” CCH Federal Tax Weekly (July 11, 2013)
- Quoted, “Final Regs Provide Roadmap Under PPACA For Employer-Sponsored Wellness Programs,” CCH Federal Tax Weekly (June 13, 2013)
- Quoted, “Tax committee report addresses health care reform,” CCH Payroll Management Guide (June 4, 2013)
- Quoted, “Final Regs Clarify PPACA’s Requirements For Wellness Programs In Group Health Plans,” Federal Tax Weekly (June 6, 2013)
- Co-author, “Examining New Proposed Regulations on Employer Shared Responsibility Payments,” Bloomberg BNA Daily Tax Report (January 14, 2013)
- Quoted, “Employer Mandate Regs' Safe Harbors, Transition Relief Please Practitioners,” Tax Notes Today (January 2, 2013)
- Quoted, “Practitioners Expect Healthcare Guidance by Year-End,” Tax Notes Today (November 8, 2012)
- Co-author, "Determining Full-Time Employees for Purposes of Employer Shared Responsibility Payments under the Affordable Care Act," Business Law Today (October 2012)
- “Employee benefits attorneys continue to advise clients on Obamacare, say more guidance is needed,” Legal Newsline (September 17, 2012)
- “With health reform's Summary of Benefits and Coverage requiring explicit detail on health plans, advisers must help employers step up to the challenge,” Employee Benefit Adviser (September 1, 2012)
- Quoted, “High Court Health Care Ruling Leaves Open Questions on Benefits Structure, Lawyers Say,” Bloomberg BNA Pension & Benefits Daily (June 29, 2012)
- Quoted, “Supreme Court Upholds Health Insurance Mandate Under Taxing Power,” Tax Notes Today (June 29, 2012)
- Quoted, “Benefits Practitioner Sees Employer Uncertainties Irrespective of Supreme Court’s Health Care Decision,” Federal Tax Day (June 27, 2012)
- Quoted, “Experts Tell BNA Predictions of Health Law's Demise in Supreme Court May Be Premature,” Bloomberg BNA Health Care Daily Report, Health Law Reporter and Health Care Daily Report (April 2012)
- PhD (Law, Policy and Society), Northeastern University, 2003
- JD, Boston University School of Law, 1984
- AB (Philosophy and Economics), Columbia University, 1981
Admissions / Qualifications
- Massachusetts, 1985