Preliminary results of an employer survey suggest that benefits packages at large employers and small employers are becoming more similar.

Broker sophistication and use of the Web seem to be helping smaller employers narrow the gap between their offerings and offerings at employers with 1,000 or more employees, according to representatives for United Benefit Advisors, Indianapolis, a group that represents independent benefits sellers.

Researchers that UBA hired polled 1,675 U.S. employers of all sizes.

The researchers found that the larger employers were more likely to offer wellness benefits and more likely to offer self-service technology, but the researchers also found that employees at smaller firms seemed to have a better understanding of why their share of health benefits costs is increasing.

Only half of the employers polled said increases in deductibles and other changes in health plan design would make employees better health consumers, but about 75% of the employers said they believe giving employees provider cost and quality information and other support tools can promote consumerism.