A survey by Kansas City-based Lockton, a brokerage and consulting firm, finds that 18.8 percent of employers are thinking about dropping group health benefits coverage in 2014.
That's when the national health reform law calls for state insurance exchanges to offer federally subsidized coverage to most workers.
Edward Fensholt, a Lockton executive, said corporate clients tell Lockton "that they are very apprehensive" about the coverage mandates in the law.
Eighty percent of Lockton's survey respondents said they fear increases in the already costly administration of employee health plans.
Also troubling employers is the potential cost impact of automatic enrollment in 2014, the elimination of dollar maximums, and coverage of adult children on employee policies.
Lockton's clients did have some positives to say about the reforms. They like the law's increase in permissible health-related wellness incentives from 20 percent to 30 percent of the total cost of employee coverage.
Employers also like the law's provision allowing employers to eliminate pre-65 retiree coverage since those retirees will have the insurance exchange option for coverage.