As the Medicare program nears 60 years old, enrollment in traditional Medicare and Medicare Advantage, or MA, is about evenly split. As policymakers chart Medicare’s future, it’s important to understand the value people receive from their coverage under the two coverage options. In this data brief, we present findings from the Commonwealth Fund 2024 Value of Medicare Survey to compare the experiences of beneficiaries with traditional Medicare to those with Medicare Advantage.

Most analyses have found that the federal government has always paid MA plans more than what it would cost to cover similar people in traditional Medicare. Although estimates vary, one study finds that plans were overpaid by more than $27 billion in 2023. These overpayments have raised questions about whether MA enrollees receive greater value that merits the extra cost to Medicare.