Amazon is offering discounted Prime to Medicaid recipients

Allan Goodman
March 8, 2018

For Amazon, it also opens up a new customer base. In June, Amazon first introduced this discounted price for shoppers who receive government assistance in the form of an Electronic Benefits Transfer card.

With the moves, Amazon is increasingly battling Walmart and other low-cost retailers for the wallets of those with less disposable income.

Last summer, Amazon began offering a discount rate of $5.99 per month for Prime memberships to customers receiving government assistance. In a similar effort, Amazon past year also introduced Amazon Cash, a way to help people without bank accounts load money into their Amazon accounts. Adding Medicaid recipients makes Prime, and its expedited shipping for no extra cost, accessible to more people, Amazon said.

Finally, as Reuters points out, there may be an additional motive behind Amazon's push for Medicaid members.

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Amazon has come under fire in the past for failing to accept EBT services.

Under the offer, customers on Medicaid, the public health insurance program for low-income Americans, can get Amazon Prime for $5.99 a month, or less than half the new regular monthly fee of $12.99, according to reports in Recode and the New York Times. Amazon doesn't say how many Prime customers it has, but market research company Forrester Research says that the majority of American households with annual income over $100,000 already pay for a Prime subscription.

The program aims to give people who might not otherwise be able to afford it access to Prime. Eligible shoppers need to reapply once a year and are eligible for up to four years.

The discounted Prime service includes Prime Video and Prime Music streaming services, in addition to unlimited two-day shipping. The Prime promo price is only available to adult Medicaid cardholders. A Morgan Stanley survey found 40% of Amazon Prime members spend over $1,000 a year on Amazon compared to 8% of non-Prime customers. "We couldn't be more excited about the response".

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