A majority of large U.S. employers are still certain they will continue to offer health care benefits 10 years from now.

But those employers’ level of confidence has slipped in the past year due to economic issues and uncertainty about health coverage proposals, according to researchers at Watson Wyatt Worldwide, Washington, and the National Business Group on Health, Washington.

The researchers base that assessment on results from a survey of 489 large U.S. employers.

About 62% of the participating employers said they are very confident they will continue to offer health care benefits 10 years from now, down from 73% in 2008.

The latest survey is the first since the survey series began 14 years years ago to show a decline in employer confidence, according to Ted Nussbaum, a Watson Wyatt consultant.

The researchers found that 68% of the participating employers support use of personal health account programs, such as health savings accounts and health reimbursement arrangements.

About 34% of the employers now offer health savings accounts, and 43% expect to do so by 2010.

About 12% support reducing the tax deductibility of employer premium contributions.