Paul Hamburger is co-chair of the Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation Group and head of the Washington, DC office. Paul is also a leader of the Practice Center’s health and welfare subgroup and a member of Proskauer’s Health Care Reform Task Force.
Paul provides technical knowledge and advice to employers on all aspects of their employee benefit programs, and advises employee benefit plan trustees and service providers on ERISA and employee benefit plan-related matters. He has extensive experience in negotiating service provider and outsourcing agreements. Paul frequently represents clients before government regulatory agencies, including the Internal Revenue Service, Department of Labor and Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation.
Paul focuses on all matters affecting employee benefit plans, including:
401(k) plans, ESOPs, and defined benefit plans, including cash balance pension plans
Executive compensation plans and agreements
Welfare benefit plans, including cafeteria plan, COBRA, and health care reform (PPACA) issues
Recognized by a number of publications for his exceptional work, Paul is described by The Legal 500 United States as "one of the best in his field; he inspires a high level of confidence and is a pleasure to work with." Chambers USA notes that Paul’s clients refer to him as "a creative, business-oriented and brilliant lawyer who educates and enlightens."
As a noted thought leader in his field, Paul frequently speaks on employee benefit matters. In addition, he served for several years as an adjunct professor at Georgetown University Law Center teaching the LL.M. tax course on ERISA Health and Welfare Benefit Plans.
An author of numerous articles on employee benefits matters, Paul has produced a number of nationally-circulated loose leaf publications, published by Thompson Information Services: Mandated Health Benefits – The COBRA Guide, The Guide to Assigning & Loaning Benefit Plan Money, and The Pension Plan Fix-It Handbook. Most recently, he was the managing author of the 6th edition of The New Health Care Reform Law – What Employers Need to Know (A Q&A Guide), published by Thompson HR.
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On August 3, 2022, in a welcome and surprising move, the IRS released Notice 2022-33, providing for an extension for qualified retirement plans to adopt amendments under the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act of 2019 (“SECURE Act”), the Bipartisan Miners Act of 2019 (the “Miners Act”) (which provided defined benefit plans with … Continue Reading
Kryptonite is a fictional substance that causes the mighty Superman to lose all his strength. According to a recent release from the U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration (“DOL”), cryptocurrency might carry similar dangers for otherwise strong and healthy 401(k) plan accounts. That is, in DOL’s view, the benefits of cryptocurrency in 401(k) … Continue Reading
Remember the DOL/Treasury relief that tolled the COBRA election and payment deadlines for up to one year due to the COVID-19 pandemic (referred to below as “Tolling Relief”)? If you have been wondering whether, under that relief, a qualified beneficiary may wait one year to elect COBRA and then wait another year to make their … Continue Reading
The IRS just released some new supplemental guidance on the COBRA premium subsidy in the American Rescue Plan Act (“ARP”). IRS Notice 2021-46, released July 26, 2021 provides additional color on a handful of discrete subsidy issues that had been addressed in earlier guidance but still caused some confusion. The guidance, in Q&A format, addresses: … Continue Reading
Over the last few months, employers and plan administrators have concentrated on identifying qualifying individuals eligible for COBRA premium assistance under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (“ARP”), sending out proper notices, and collecting election forms. Now that the dust has settled on the first round of election notices, employers and plans have turned … Continue Reading
One important question that arises when determining whether an individual is eligible for the COBRA premium subsidy under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (“ARP”) is whether the employee has experienced an involuntary termination of employment. (See our prior blogs on the ARP subsidy, here.) The IRS’s recent Notice 2021-31 (the “Notice”) provides helpful … Continue Reading
On May 18, 2021, the IRS released Notice 2021-31, which provides implementation guidance on the COBRA premium subsidy available under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARP). As discussed in our prior blog posts, ARP includes a 100% COBRA premium subsidy for qualifying individuals during periods of COBRA continuation coverage from April 1, 2021 … Continue Reading
The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARP) requires that plan administrators distribute new COBRA notices to individuals in connection with the COBRA premium subsidy, as discussed in our prior blog posts. To help keep track of who gets which COBRA notice and the applicable deadline to send each notice, we have prepared a “pocket … Continue Reading
As mentioned in our earlier posts, the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (“ARP”) provides a 100% COBRA premium subsidy for continuation coverage between April 1 and September 30, 2021 for certain assistance eligible individuals (“AEIs”). As employers and plan administrators prepare to educate AEIs about this subsidy, they cannot overlook another necessary notice: a … Continue Reading
Immediate Action Required As discussed in our prior posts, the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (“ARP”) requires that plan administrators distribute new COBRA notices advising individuals of their possible rights to a COBRA premium subsidy. Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Labor released new COBRA premium subsidy model notices and FAQs explaining how that is … Continue Reading
As we previously explained in prior blogs, the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (“ARPA”) includes a 100% COBRA premium subsidy for periods of coverage occurring between April 1 and September 30, 2021 for certain eligible individuals. Today, the U. S Department of Labor issued model notices and guidance in the form of Frequently Asked … Continue Reading
The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (“ARPA”) includes a 100% COBRA premium subsidy for “assistance eligible individuals,” for periods of coverage occurring between April 1, 2021 and September 30, 2021, as described in earlier blog posts. An “assistance eligible individual” is any COBRA “qualified beneficiary” who loses group health coverage on account of a … Continue Reading
As we previously explained in our prior blogs, both here and here, on the new COBRA subsidy rules, the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (“ARPA”), includes a 100% COBRA premium subsidy for periods of coverage occurring between April 1 and September 30, 2021. The subsidy is available to qualified beneficiaries who are eligible for … Continue Reading
As a follow up to our March 10th blog post, we have prepared a comprehensive summary of the COBRA premium subsidy provisions contained in the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (“ARPA”) here.… Continue Reading
The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (“ARPA”), which was just passed by Congress and will be sent to President Biden for signature, includes an opportunity for free COBRA coverage for a six-month period from April through September 2021 for employees (and their family members) who experience a loss of group health coverage due to … Continue Reading
In our February 12th blog post, we raised the question of how to interpret the duration of the DOL/Treasury relief tolling certain benefit plan deadlines due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Without guidance from the agencies, it was unclear whether the relief was set to expire in a few days (on February 28, 2021) due to … Continue Reading
There is an old saying – “People with weak stomachs should not watch sausage or legislation being made.” A great application of that aphorism is seen in the current COBRA subsidy proposed legislation making its way through Congress. The idea is simple – if people need continuing health care coverage (COBRA coverage) because they are … Continue Reading
As discussed in an earlier blog post on the DOL/Treasury relief extending benefit plan deadlines due to the pandemic, plans have to disregard an “outbreak period” when determining deadlines for COBRA elections and premiums payments, special enrollment in health plans, and the filing of claims and appeals. The DOL/Treasury guidance defined the “outbreak period” as … Continue Reading
Among the many lawsuits Boeing confronted following the disclosure of problems with the 737 Max was a class action brought by participants in the Boeing Voluntary Investment Plan who invested in the Boeing ESOP. The plaintiffs alleged that the Boeing defendants breached their ERISA fiduciary duties by concealing problems with the 737 Max, which allegedly … Continue Reading
On March 27th, Congress passed a stimulus package in response to the Coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic. The package, which is entitled the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (the “CARES Act” or the “Act”), contains several provisions that affect employee benefits. Retirement Plans Early “Coronavirus-Related Distributions”: The CARES Act allows plans to offer “coronavirus-related distributions” up … Continue Reading
As previewed in our prior blog post, the recently enacted SECURE Act includes many changes that affect employer-sponsored benefit plans and require the attention of plan administrators. Among these changes, effective for distributions made after December 31, 2019 (for individuals who reach age 70½ after that date), is the delay of the “required beginning date” … Continue Reading
We conclude our blog series on best practices in administering benefit claims with the three C’s: be clear, be consistent, and communicate. The key to effective benefit claim administration ultimately boils down to drafting and maintaining clear plan documents, implementing and enforcing plan terms consistently, and communicating clearly with plan participants and beneficiaries. First, all … Continue Reading
The SECURE Act, included as part of the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020, was signed into law on December 20, 2019. This new law contains many significant changes that may impact employer-sponsored benefit plans. Given the scope of the law and the number of changes, we will release a series of blog posts exploring the … Continue Reading
The IRS recently released a final regulation clarifying how voluntary employees’ beneficiary associations (VEBAs) and supplemental unemployment benefit trusts (SUBs) should calculate unrelated business taxable income. VEBAs and SUBs are tax-exempt entities that are used to fund employee benefit programs. Read below for background, details of the final regulation, and the applicability date. Background Although … Continue Reading