When health exchanges emerge in 2014, new analysis indicates this will be the exit point for several employers to get out of the health benefits arena. In fact, according to a study from research and consulting firm Market Strategies International, there will be an estimated net 10 percent reduction in access to employer-sponsored health benefits.

"The results are eye opening and could severely impact a sizeable number of US workers and their families," said Susan McIntyre, senior vice president in the company's Health Care Division, in a statement. "We're talking about potentially 10 million people no longer having access to health benefits through their employers in 2014. A significant number of employers are telling us that, with health care reform, it may not benefit them competitively to offer employee health care benefits. The reality is that companies of all sizes are reviewing their options and considering reductions."

McIntyre added that both small and large companies view exchanges as potential to "exit the health benefits arena without leaving employees lacking in coverage options. For some large firms, in particular, there is a desire to pay to walk away.

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