NU Online News Service, Oct. 18, 2004, 2:10 p.m. EDT

An investment banking firm says the disease management market may be a hot market.[@@]

The aging of the U.S. population and efforts to control health care costs should lead to at least 5 years of double-digit growth for companies in the market, according to a report by analysts at Cochran, Caronia & Company, Chicago, an investment bank that focuses on the insurance industry.

The Congressional Budget Office recently published a report questioning whether disease management programs have proven their value.

But Cochran, Caronia argue that there is plenty of room for growth, because the field is still young and the existing disease management companies serve fewer than 10% of the patients that they ought to be helping.

A new federal law will encourage Medicare to enroll many of its beneficiaries in disease management programs, and Medicare officials will announce the first Medicare disease management contracts in December, the Cochran, Caronia analysts write.