Amazon Launches Low-Cost Prime Membership For Medicaid Recipients

Amazon is taking aim at Walmart by offering a 54 percent discount on Prime memberships for Medicaid recipients

To qualify for the discounted rate, customers must have a valid Medicaid card or Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card.

Amazon has been working to offer more services for lower-income shoppers, including discounted Prime memberships and Amazon Cash.

Besides unlimited, fast free shipping, a Prime membership gives you unlimited access to Prime Video, Prime Music, and Prime Reading, unlimited photo storage via Prime Photos, discounts on games, early access to Amazon's Lightning Deals, and special discounts at Whole Foods.

Amazon says little about the profile of Prime members.

Almost 70 million people are enrolled in Medicaid, which provides health coverage to low-income people and those with disabilities.

Amazon Prime's core customers have typically been middle- and upper-class shoppers. That brings down the price from $12.99/month to just $5.99/month.

Last summer, Amazon offered the discounted membership price to customers on other government assistance programs, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and Women, Infants, and Children Nutrition Program (WIC).

"They are enabling people who otherwise would be priced out", said Greengart. The online retailer also recently announced it was participating in a program led by the Department of Agriculture that will allow SNAP recipients to purchase groceries online. Eligible shoppers need to reapply once a year and are eligible for up to four years.

The New York Times says the move expands a previous Amazon effort started past year, when it offered Prime discounts to people with Electronic Benefit Transfer cards, used to distribute aid for food purchases. But Medicaid members will only have to pay $5.99 after a 30-day free trial period.

Jared Bernstein, a senior fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a left-leaning think tank, said Amazon's move was clearly a grab for a portion of Walmart's customers.

The cheapest option for a typical Amazon Prime member is to pay $100 a year to renew their membership on an annual basis. "We couldn't be more excited about the response".

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