What We're Reading: Death Rate in the US Increases

What we're reading, June 1, 2016: for the first time in a decade, the death rate in the United States has risen; UnitedHealth confirms it will leave the California insurance exchange in 2017; and just 6% of Americans do the 5 things they need to prevent disease.

For the first time in a decade, the death rate in the United States has risen. According to The New York Times, the increase was driven by drug overdoses, suicide, and Alzheimer’s disease, plus the death rate from heart disease also edged up slightly. Improvements in health, disease management, and medical technology had led to a decline in death rates, and the current rise was a surprise to experts. The uptick drags the United States further beyond European countries, which are seeing declines in mortality.

UnitedHealth has now confirmed that it will also be leaving California’s insurance exchange, which it just joined this year. The insurer had announced that it would be leaving most exchanges in 2017, and it is now expected that it will only over plans through employers and the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, reported Kaiser Health News. So far, UnitedHealth is confirmed to participate in the individual markets in New York, Nevada, and Virginia in 2017.

Just 6% of American adults do the 5 things they need to prevent disease as best as possible. TODAY.com reported that most people manage just 2 or 3 of the 5 best ways (not smoking, exercising regularly, drinking in moderation or not at all, keeping a healthy weight, and getting at least 7 hours of sleep a night) to prevent heart disease, cancer, and other chronic diseases. The CDC found that weight is the most difficult aspect for people with more than two-thirds of American adults either overweight or obese. Meanwhile, not smoking was the most commonly met goal with 81.6% of American current nonsmokers.