Amazon offers Prime membership discount to Medicaid users

Amazon is including people on Medicaid in its discounted Prime membership

Amazon announced Wednesday that it will offer a low-priced version of its Amazon Prime membership program to qualifying Medicaid recipients.

The online retailer already offers a cheaper monthly membership to people who receive food stamps or other government assistance through Electronic Benefit Transfer cards. Prime typically costs $12.99 a month or $99 for those paying a one-time yearly fee.

By establishing a tier for medicare recipients, the government-sponsored health care scheme for low-income pregnant women, adults, seniors, and people with disabilities, Amazon adds another entry point to its services to people in lower income brackets.

Amazon Prime subscribers get a host of benefits from the e-retail giant, including free two-day shipping on most Amazon orders, free unlimited streaming of video and music, and occasional special discounts not available to non-members.

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Any push by Amazon into poorer demographics comes at a time when traditional brick-and-mortar suppliers like Walmart Inc have been fighting the online shopping giant's arrival by seeking to attract more high-spending shoppers.

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.

Now those with a valid Medicaid card are also eligible for the discount Prime program. Prime membership for students is $6.49 a month.

Expanding access for lower-income households to affordable products is likely to benefit Medicaid recipients who may otherwise have limited access to the goods and services they need. The $5.99 membership can be renewed every year for up to four years. When the program launched previous year, it was open to customers with an EBT card. He said Prime has helped save her time and money by helping her skip some of those errands.

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