Department of Defense actuaries have discovered significantly higher mortality rates among active duty retirees compared to reserve retirees, and the disparity stretches back decades.Actuaries ... an evil bunch of folks - smart little devils,
In any given year, looking at populations of non-disabled military retirees age 60 and older, the death rate for active duty enlisted retirees is 20 to 25 percent higher than for reserve enlisted retirees. Active duty officer retirees who are 60 and older die in numbers roughly 10 percent higher than retired reserve peers.
All retired officers, and retired reserve enlisted members, still live a few years longer, on average, than the general population. But for retired active duty enlisted, it’s about even with other Americans.
Rossi also produced average life expectancy comparisons. In 2004, for instance, 60-year-old active duty enlisted retirees had an average life expectancy of 19.6 years. That was nearly two years short of life expectancy (21.5 years) for reserve enlisted retirees. How significant is two years?Why? I think this needs looking at - because my teeth tell a similar story.
“Very,” Rossi conceded. He noted that the life expectancy difference between male and females in the general population at age 60 is three to four years. So a two-year spread between reserve and active duty enlisted retirees at 60 is “a big difference,” he said.
“We all know that if you’re a man [and have] a spouse of the same age, she is going to outlive you. But active and reserve, same age, and we have a significant probability the reservist is going to outlive the active duty member? That is startling,” Rossi said.
Luff concurred, pointing out that two years is also the life expectancy gap at 60 between a woman who smokes cigarettes and one who doesn’t.
Another possible factor, one official acknowledged, is that active duty retirees rely for decades on military health care. That’s not a knock on the care but on the fact that patients and doctors are reassigned frequently and continuity of care can suffer compared to what reservists experience.Gen. Shinseki - over to you.