Promising statistics recently came out early this year indicating the mortality rate for older Americans is down from 2015 to 2016, perhaps due in part to the greater access to healthcare our elders enjoy now that insurance companies cannot deny individuals with pre-existing conditions. For Americans age 75 to 84, the mortality rate improved by 2.3 percent between 2015 and 2016, or twice the rate of improvement seen between 2011 and 2016. The figures come from the Society of Actuaries and is based on data provided by the Centers for Disease Control.
Mortality also improved for those 85-years and older by 2.1 percent, which is more than three times the rate of improvement between 2011 and 2016, according to new analysis from the Society of Actuaries. However, Americans aged 25 to 34-years old saw their mortality rates increase by 10.5 percent in 2016 which represented the highest of all age brackets.
The Society of Actuaries believes the uptick in mortality rates for younger Americans is due to a spike in accidents and the nationwide opioid epidemic. According to the report, opioid deaths are up almost 25 percent across the country in 2016, which constituted the highest increase for any single type of death.
According to data analyzed by the Society of Actuaries, the mortality rate in the United States has declined every year from 1999 to 2015 but the overall life expectancy has slowed in the past five-years. Heart disease is the number one cause of death among Americans and has been a very large contributor to the slowdown in mortality improvements since the late 2000s.
So what does all this mean for older Americans? For starters, companies providing pensions will have to readjust their actuaries to calculate for lump sum pensions buyouts, which can be good news for some folks planning their retirements. Those companies will in turn also have to rethink their pension funding methods as retirees are living longer, healthier lives.
Furthermore, the news is just one more reasons why folks need to periodically review their retirement and estate planning goals to keep pace with the realities around them. What may have seemed like a perfectly suitable plan a few years ago may need to be altered or adjusted when life changes occur. Take care of yourself and your family by staying on top of your estate plan, making changes to your will or trusts, and being aware of upcoming events.