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P. Brian Bartels


Brian leads the firm’s national health and welfare benefits practice. He advises clients across the country on group health plans, wellness programs, cafeteria plans, health savings accounts, health reimbursement arrangements, and other health and welfare plans. Brian regularly counsels clients on mental health parity, No Surprises Act, HIPAA, ERISA, Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and COBRA compliance issues. He drafts and negotiates service agreements and business associate agreements for employee benefit plans; prepares plan-related documents, employee communications, and HIPAA policies and procedures; and counsels clients on benefit plan design and administration issues. He assists employers to respond to employer shared responsibility payments under the ACA, as well as inquiries from the Internal Revenue Service and Department of Labor. He also advises clients on employee benefits issues in the context of mergers, acquisitions and divestitures.
  • “Fiduciary Duties in the Public Sector,” Benefits Magazine, April 2015 (co-author)
  • “All (Not) Aboard: The Eighth Circuit Creates a Split in Authority By Determining a Single-Participant “Plan” is not an ERISA Plan,” Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern R.R. Corp. v. Schieffer, 47 CREIGHTON L. REV. 539, September 2014
  • “Considerations for Employee Benefit Plans and Human Resource Practices Following United States v. Windsor,” The Nebraska Lawyer, Sept./Oct. 2013 (co-author)
Speaking Engagements
  • “Elect to Have a Winning Benefit Plan,” Kutak Rock LLP’s Annual Employment Law Seminar, Omaha, Nebraska, November 2018
  • “How “Well” is Your Wellness Program? Preparing for a “Check-Up” From the Regulators,” Employers Council on Flexible Compensation’s 31st Annual Symposium, San Diego, California, August 2018
  • “Employee Benefits Update,” Kutak Rock LLP Client Seminar - Protecting Corporate Interests from Inside, Kansas City, Missouri, June 2017
  • “It’s Not a Trivial Pursuit: Keeping Current on Changes in Employee Benefits Law,” Kutak Rock LLP’s Annual Employment Law Seminar, Omaha, Nebraska, November 2016
  • “Being Prepared for a HIPAA Audit,” Kutak Rock LLP Client Webinar, May 2016
  • “The Affordable Care Act Beat: Issues and Considerations for 2015 and Beyond,” Kutak Rock LLP’s Annual Employment Law Seminar, Omaha, Nebraska, November 2015
  • “Health Care Reform & Same-Sex Spouse Benefits,” Kutak Rock LLP Client Seminar - Protecting Corporate Interests from Inside, Kansas City, Missouri, June 2014
  • “The Future of Employee Benefits in America: Emerging Issues Surrounding ERISA and Employee Benefits,” 2014 Creighton Law Review Symposium, Creighton University School of Law, Omaha, Nebraska, March 27, 2014 (panelist)

  • Regularly advises employers on Affordable Care Act implementation issues, including Form 1095-C and 1095-C reporting, responding to Internal Revenue Service proposed assessments of employer shared responsibility payments, and coverage requirements. 
  • Preparing a variety of benefit plan documents, including wellness programs, wrap plans, cafeteria plans, health flexible spending arrangements, health reimbursement arrangements, dependent care assistance plans, transportation fringe benefit plans, and self-insured group health plans.
  • Reviewing and negotiating business associate agreements and administrative services agreements for self-insured group health plans, cafeteria plans, health flexible spending arrangements, dependent care assistance programs, transportation plans, employee assistance programs, disability plans, and COBRA administration.
  • Drafting fiduciary handbooks for a variety of employee benefit plans, including 403(b) plans, 401(a) plans (defined benefit and defined contribution), a 457 plan, and a voluntary employees’ beneficiary association ("VEBA").
  • Conducting compliance reviews and mock audits for health and welfare plan documents and operations.
  • Preparing HIPAA policies and procedures for health plans.
  • Providing HIPAA training.
  • Conducting due diligence and advising buyers and sellers on health and welfare benefit plan matters in merger and acquisition transactions. 
  • Assisting clients with the San Francisco Health Care Security Ordinance and responding to compliance audits.

  • Chambers USA®Leading Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation Attorney, Nebraska
  • The Best Lawyers in America® “Lawyer of the Year” in Omaha for Litigation: ERISA, 2021
  • National LGBT Bar Association, Top LGBT Legal Professional under 40 Award, 2018
  • The Best Lawyers in America®, Litigation – ERISA, 2017-2023; Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law; Litigation – ERISA, 2024
  • Super Lawyers® Rising Stars, 2013-2019 - Employment Benefits/ERISA
  • Super Lawyers® 2021-2024
  • American Bankruptcy Institute - American Bankruptcy Medal of Excellence (2008)
  • Nebraska State Bar Association, Silver Quill Award (2007)
  • Board of Editors, Creighton Law Review
  • Moot Court Board, Creighton University School of Law