A new survery has found that almost one in 10 employers are looking to scratch health coverage for its workers once the federal insurance exchanges kick off in 2014.

The survey carried out by the benefits consultancy group Towers Watson, found some employers, especially retailers and those offering low wages, feel they would be better off paying fines and taxes than the health coverage of their workers, the Associated Press reported.

A large majority of employers said they still expect to continue health care when the exchanges start, but the 8 or 9 per cent of companies that said they expect to drop it came as a surprise.

Dropping coverage is going to be very difficult for these (companies) to do, said Bob Laszewski, a consultant who was not involved with the studies.

 The consultants also found that 20 per cent of companies were unsure about which stance to take on the issue by 2014.

Employers are only planning moderate changes to their health care plans for 2012 in compliance with the health care reform legislation passed in 2011. However, the survey found that an 88 per cent majority of employers are planning to take steps to control their costs and avoid the impact of the health care reform's excise tax.

Towers Watson has said that the results of their study should be seen as a snapshot of the way companies are thinking.

They can't be viewed as a final decision because there are still many unresolved variables. No one knows what the exchanges will be like or whether consumers will accept them, and companies may change their thinking once they learn more about the overhaul, they said