NU Online News Service, June 9, 2003, 5:03 p.m. EDT – More than one-quarter of the victims of gunshot injuries have private health insurance, according to a study that appeared in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

The authors of the article, which was included in a recent research digest published by the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, conclude that about 60% of gunshot victims have Medicaid, Medicare or no health coverage at all. About half of the victims live in ZIP codes where the median income is less than $25,000 per year.

But 25.4% of the victims have private health insurance or private health maintenance organization coverage, and 15% live in ZIP codes with median incomes over $35,000, the authors report.

The authors base the statistics on analysis of 1997 data. U.S. hospitals treated about 36,000 gunshot injuries that year at an average cost of about $22,000 per injury, the authors estimate.

The authors of the study are Dr. Jeffrey Coben of Allegheny General Hospital, Pittsburgh, and Dr. Claudia Steiner, a researcher who formerly was with the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.