Small businesses in areas where producers are active in promoting health savings accounts are more likely to adopt HSA programs than small businesses in other regions are.

Researchers at Celent L.L.C., Boston, have presented that finding in a new review of the HSA market.

The number of HSAs may have increased to about 3 million this year, up from 1.9 million people in 2007, the Celent researchers estimate.

About 29% of businesses with 20,000 or more employees now offer an HSA program option, but only 11% of businesses with 5 to 249 employees have HSA programs, the researchers report.

The researchers note, in an analysis of data from a study commissioned by the National Federation of Independent Business, Nashville, Tenn., that small business use of HSA programs appears to correlate with agent and broker interest in that market.

About 17% of Midwestern businesses with 5 to 249 employees have HSA programs, and about 70% of NFIB survey participants in that region say benefits advisors have told them about the HSA option, the Celent researchers write.

In other regions of the county, HSA use ranges from about 5% to 11%. In those regions, the percentage of small business benefits buyers who say producers presented an HSA option ranges from 56% down to 46%, the researchers write.