Rachel Cutler Shim is a Philadelphia employee benefits attorney who focuses her practice in the area of general employee benefits with an emphasis on health and welfare plans. Ms. Shim assists small, medium and large multinational employers with compliance matters associated with all areas of employees benefits, including retirement plans, health and welfare plans, and executive compensation with a focus on health plans, cafeteria plans, welfare benefit plans, flexible compensation programs, retiree health plans and voluntary employees' beneficiary associations (VEBAs). Her work includes the drafting of all types of plan documents, counseling clients on plan design matters and innovations, advising clients on fiduciary and income tax concerns, as well as compliance with the Internal Revenue Code (IRC), Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) and other statutes affecting employee benefit plans.

In addition, Ms. Shim has significant experience advising clients on Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) issues as well as plan administration. Ms. Shim also assists clients in complying with the state laws governing health and welfare plan design and administration, domestic partner coverage, continuation of coverage and mandated benefits, and regularly counsels clients on ERISA pre-emption of state laws. She also negotiates with third-party administrators, insurance carriers and other vendors on behalf of health and welfare plans.

Ms. Shim also helps human resource professionals understand and comply with the many requirements and regulations under ERISA, the IRC and other laws that affect their pension, retirement, equity and executive management arrangements. In addition, Ms. Shim has represented clients before the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) under various circumstances, including voluntary correction program filings and benefit plan audits.

Representative Experience

  • Helped the fourth-largest pharmaceutical company in the world redesign their retiree medical plan
  • Assisted a Fortune 500 company with the merger of its health and welfare programs into two plans, and prepared wrap plan documents and summary plan descriptions for same
  • Worked with a large healthcare company and its outside retirement plan vendor to prepare and submit a voluntary correction program filing with the Internal Revenue Service
  • Worked with the independent trustee of a voluntary employee beneficiary association to understand the tax, withholding and reporting obligations of distributions being made due to termination of the trust
  • Advised a leading chemical and ingredient solutions provider on the implementation of a private healthcare exchange
  • Assisted a national leading security company with the preparation and distribution of summaries of benefits and coverage (SBC) as required by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA)
  • Advised a large public institution on the ACA Shared Responsibility Payment requirements with regard to part-time employees and employees who take a leave of absence
  • Assisted a large healthcare provider with the acquisition of various physician groups and the adoption of self-insured plans for each independent entity
  • Redesigned a health and welfare plan for a global pharmaceutical company, including the expansion of the types of expenses for which the assets held in certain voluntary employees' beneficiary association (VEBA) trusts can be used; and prepared a wrap plan document/summary plan description for same


  • Georgetown University Law Center, J.D., cum laude
  • Bates College, B.A., Art History
Bar Admissions/Licenses
  • Pennsylvania
Honors & Awards


Speaking Engagements