Of the nearly 20 years of life you can expect after you retire, what do you want those years to look like?  What do you want to be able to do and to see?  What do you want to leave as your legacy?

Last month, the CDC released some interesting statistics regarding post-retirement life expectancy.  In a state-by-state analysis, they looked not only at how long populations in each state could expect to live past retirement age, but perhaps more importantly, how many of those years could be expected to be lived in good health.

Here’s how Montana fared:

Life Expectancy (total population past age 65)

  • Montana ranked 24th in the nation (tie), at 19.2 years LE past 65.
  • Hawaii was #1, at 21.3 years
  • National average: 19.1

Healthy Life Expectancy (total population past age 65)

  • Montana ranked 19th in the nation (tie), at 14.6 years HLE past 65.
  • Hawaii was #1, at 16.2 years
  • National average: 13.9

When looked at as a percentage of healthy years past age 65, Montanans can expect to spend nearly 76% of their post-retirement in good health.  This is 14th best in the nation (Vermont ranked #1 at 78.2%, and the national average was 72.7%).  As expected, when broken down by gender, females are living longer than their male counterparts, but not necessarily living a higher percentage of healthy years in every state.  In Montana, this does hold true, with females living both longer total and longer in health.

What does all this mean?  Well, first of all, as a state we’re not doing bad versus the national average when we look at Healthy Life Expectancy.  These numbers also give us something to strive for.  Of the nearly 20 years of life you can expect after you retire, what do you want those years to look like?  What do you want to be able to do and to see?  What do you want to leave as your legacy?  How you’re living today and tomorrow will have an enormous impact on how those questions ultimately get answered.

Our Vision at MUS Wellness is this:

Our plan members engaged in the ownership and betterment of their health and well-being in order to maximize quality of life

This is why we’re very interested in statistics like these, because we wish a high quality of life for you—today, tomorrow, when you retire, and all the way until the end.  We have many programs in place to help achieve this vision, and many ways you can be involved.  Good health is affected by many things:  diet, exercise, sleep habits, stress management, and our relationships with others, to name a few big components.  If you’re concerned about your health, a good place to start is to assess how you’re doing in some of these areas, or get someone to help you assess and make a plan to achieve the vision of living a high quality life—both today, post-retirement, and all your days in-between.

You can engage in a Wellness Program such as Ask-an-Expert or Take Control if you need help with getting on track.  Information about these programs and many others can be found on our Wellness Website.  And as always, you can contact us at wellness@montana.edu for more information about how we can help you live a healthy life!

State HLE by Gender
Healthy Life Expectancy past age 65 by gender.

If you are interested in reading the entire article from the CDC, here is the link:

State-Specific Healthy Life Expectancy at Age 65 Years — United States, 2007–2009, CDC

You must be a Montana University System Insured Plan member to participate.

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