NEW YORK (Reuters) - Time Warner Inc is planning to transfer its U.S. retirees from company-sponsored health plans and move them to private insurance exchanges.

According to an August memo obtained by Reuters, the media company will make allocations to a Health Reimbursement Arrangement account for retirees to use towards the purchase of coverage on an exchange. Previously, Time Warner provided an indirect subsidy through a supplementary Medicare program.

The shift "will ultimately be beneficial for all retirees by providing more choice of coverage ... for, in many cases, a lower cost," read the memo, which was written by James Cummings, the company's senior vice president of global compensation and benefits.

The change in coverage will take effect on January 1, 2014.

Time Warner is not the only company to take such steps as a result of the government's healthcare reform laws. International Business Machines Corp on Friday announced a similar plan, which it said was a way to lower costs for retirees.

(Reporting by Ryan Vlastelica; Editing by Nick Zieminski)

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