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Greta Cowart is known for fixing complex employee benefit plan issues, including many issues under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (health reform), and has secured significant results in Internal Revenue Service employee plans team audits and in U.S. Department of Labor audits of employee benefit plans and service providers to employee benefit plans.  Greta has resolved significant employee benefit plan compliance issues.

Practicing for over 30 years, Greta has partnered with clients to strategically resolve employee benefits and employee relations issues considering business goals and providing alternative approaches.  Through her work on the Employee Benefits Committee of the American Bar Association, Section of Taxation, she has worked with the technical provisions and the significant legislative and regulatory changes governing retirement plans, executive compensation, and various health reform initiatives.

Greta has also worked extensively with Code section 409A and its application to nonqualified deferred compensation and the variety of agreements it impacts, such as employment agreements and corporate transactions and provided recommendations to the government for its use in rule making under such section. As a former Chair of the Employee Benefits Committee of the American Bar Association's Section of Taxation, Greta's extensive knowledge of employee benefits and executive compensation, and the variety of federal government regulators involved in such arrangements provides her with the background to assist corporations quickly and strategically with design, fiduciary, and administration issues, including litigation of benefit disputes. 

Representative Experience

Greta has extensive experience representing plan sponsors, plan administrators and benefit appeal committees including: 

  • Counseling clients through reducing risks of fluctuating liabilities due to pensions, retiree life, retiree medical and long term disability benefits.
  • Representing clients in moving retiree health benefits to private exchanges, including all regulatory compliance issues (tax, ERISA, and Medicare) and communications.
  • Representing health care system in an Internal Revenue Service team audit of all of its retirement, welfare, fringe benefit and executive plans. 
  • Representing state school system in Internal Revenue Service audit of its 403(b) and 457 plans. 
  • Representing numerous clients before the Internal Revenue Service in correcting qualification issues in a number of qualified retirement plans under the Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System. 
  • Representing clients before the Internal Revenue Service to correct violations in 401(k), defined benefit and other qualified retirement plans, and 403(b) plans and to fix complex qualified plan issues. 
  • Representing numerous clients successfully through U.S. Department of Labor audits of their 401(k), ESOPs, welfare benefit plans and other employee benefit plans. 
  • Representing clients in moving retiree health benefits to private exchanges, including all regulatory compliance issues (tax, ERISA, and Medicare) and communications.
  • Representing clients in outsourcing of benefits. 
  • Representing clients in connection with collective bargaining grievances related to benefits and other related issues. 
  • Representing corporations on merger strategy and benefit integration negotiation teams for retirement, health and welfare and executive compensation benefits. 
  • Counseling employers regarding health care reform and structuring staffing to prepare for the pay or play penalty tax
  • Counseling corporations regarding establishing disability plan claims administration procedures, forms and practices for compliance, and to provide the best defense.
  • Counseling clients with collectively bargained workforces regarding benefits issues considering collateral implications under collective bargaining agreements.
  • Providing expert opinions to plan administrators in contested appeals of health plan benefit and retirement  plan claim denials. 
  • Assisting clients with reversing outsourcing of benefits administration.
  • Assisting in representation of plan sponsors, fiduciaries and administrators in ERISA litigation. 
  • Assisting corporations and managed care organizations regarding legal operating issues related to employee benefit plans.
  • Analyzing extensive health plan issues under health reform, COBRA, HIPAA portability, GINA, Michelle’s Law, ADA, HIPAA privacy, HITECH and other laws
  • Obtaining private letter rulings resolving difficult defined benefit plan issues. 
  • Providing expert opinion to plan administrator in contested appeal of health plan benefit denial. 
  • Working with corporations analyzing their nonqualified deferred compensation issues under Code section 409A and proposing alternate designs. 
  • Represented retirement plan service providers during U.S. Department of Labor audits.
  • Counseled hospitality industry client in corporate restructuring and $1.1 billion refinancing.

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