Cheaper Amazon Prime for Medicaid Recipients

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

Amazon is making another move in its courtship of lower-income shoppers, announcing a discount on its Amazon Prime monthly membership fee for recipients of Medicaid.

The discounted program charges eligible customers $5.99 per month, down from the regular monthly price of $12.99, and it comes with free two-day shipping as well as all the benefits like Prime Video, Prime Photos and others.

Amazon Prime memberships are now available at the special price of $5.99 per month for tens of millions of American consumers.

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According to government data, some 68 million individuals are enrolled in Medicaid, the federal-state-funded health insurance program for needy and low-income people. Prime provides free same-day and one-day shipping, online streaming of thousands of movies and TV shows, unlimited photo storage and early access to select Lightning Deals.

When Amazon rolled out its discounted Prime rate to EBT cardholders last summer, the Wall Street Journal described it as a move to steal business away from Walmart, which sees a huge portion of its sales from SNAP beneficiary customers. Amazon Prime customers typically spend more and buy more frequently on Amazon than non-members do.

Finally, as Reuters points out, there may be an additional motive behind Amazon's push for Medicaid members. Eligible shoppers need to reapply once a year and are eligible for up to four years. But customers won't be able to share their Prime membership with a second adult, as with a regularly priced Prime membership. Prime membership for students is $6.49 a month. Walmart, meanwhile, accounts for 18% of annual spending through the food stamps program, which is formally called Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. When you consider the included subscriptions to Amazon Video and Music, this could also help those receiving government assistance save money in other areas, which is never a bad thing.

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