Kirsten Garcia

Practices

Education and Clerkships

J.D., University of Texas at Austin School of Law, 2006, with honors

B.S.F.S., Georgetown University, 2001, magna cum laude

Bar Admissions

Texas, 2006

Profile

Kirsten Garcia has extensive experience providing practical advice on complying with the Affordable Care Act, including its penalties and reporting, disclosure, plan design, and fee requirements, and other federal laws affecting health and welfare benefits and wellness programs.

Since the ACA’s enactment, Kirsten has devoted much of her time to assisting clients in determining how the law impacts them. A routine day includes interpreting coverage mandates and disclosure requirements, advising on permissible plan design options, strategizing management of employer penalty risk, and drafting look back measurement periods. Most recently, Kirsten drafted provisions in vendor agreements of several large employers to ensure avoidance of employer penalties with respect to contract labor. Clients and colleagues use Kirsten as a “go-to” person for understanding the latest guidance and strategies for ACA compliance.

Kirsten regularly assists employers with HIPAA compliance issues, including compliance audit and investigation by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. She also assists with correction of operational or document failures or errors, and advises clients regarding operations, reporting and disclosure compliance, including drafting required documentation and conducting employee training.

Kirsten is a frequent speaker and writer on issues affecting health and welfare plans. Groups she has spoken to include the International Society of Certified Employee Benefits Specialists DFW and Houston Chapters, Worldwide Employee Benefits Network – Dallas Chapter, Employment Law Updates sponsored by the Fort Worth, Dallas and San Antonio Chambers of Commerce, and the Dallas Bar Association Employee Benefits / Executive Compensation Section. She has authored articles appearing the New York University Review of Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation, The Practical Tax Lawyer, Dallas Business Journal, and Fort Worth Business Press.  Every other month, she presents a legislative update at the DFW ISCEBS Chapter meeting.

Professional and Community Activities

  • State Bar of Texas
  • Dallas Bar Association; Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Committee Member, 2012-2014

Selected Client Representations

  • Advising clients regarding operations, reporting and disclosure compliance with the federal and state laws governing employee benefit plans, including drafting required documentation and conducting employee training. Such federal laws include: Internal Revenue Code; Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA); Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA); Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA); Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA)
  • Assisting clients with correction of plan failures through the Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System issued by the Internal Revenue Service and the Voluntary Fiduciary Correction Program issued by the United States Department of Labor. 
  • Advising clients regarding attorney client privilege issues in employee benefits practice. 
  • Advising clients with benefits issues arising in corporate transactions. 
  • Assisting schools and non-federal governmental entities with the operations, reporting and disclosure compliance of their employee benefit plans. 
  • Assisting clients with establishing and operating Voluntary Employees' Beneficiary Associations and associated employee welfare benefit plans.

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