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.

Areas of Practice