By Tom Philpott: PNT columnist
Department of Defense actuaries have discovered significantly higher mortality rates among active duty retirees compared to reserve retirees, and the disparity stretches back decades.
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.
Defense officials haven’t done a study to explain death rate differences among military retirees.