About 44% of the U.S. employers who participated in a recent informal Web survey said they are opposed to the idea of the country developing a tax-supported universal health plan.

About 26% said they support the idea, and 30% said they are not sure, according to researchers at United Benefit Advisors L.L.C., Indianapolis, the group that conducted the survey.

Members of the UBA, a coalition of independent benefits advisory firms, invited client employers to participate in the survey, and 1,664 of the employers ended up filling out the survey forms.

Although some survey participants were open to the idea of setting up a universal health plan system, they expressed more interest in and support for other options.

About 50% of the participants, for example, said the government should let retirees ages 55 to 64 buy into the Medicare health coverage program.

When asked about how they thought the U.S. health care system might change over the next 5 years, only 7.5% predicted the country would adopt a Canadian-style single-payer system.

About 57% predicted the country would shift to a greater use of individual health coverage coupled with health savings accounts or health reimbursement accounts.

But 74% of the participating employers said their organizations should provide health benefits both for employees and dependents. Only 12% agreed or strongly agreed that employees should bear the bulk of future health care cost increases.