Amazon expands discounted Prime to Medicaid recipients

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People who receive Medicaid, an insurance program for low-income people, families and children, pregnant women, seniors, and people with disabilities, will be able to get a Amazon Prime membership for $5.99 per month beginning Wednesday.

The budget-friendly version of the Amazon Prime service will cost $5.99 per month, about half the cost of the standard membership fee.

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

The discounted Prime service includes Prime Video and Prime Music streaming services, in addition to unlimited two-day shipping. Such cards are typically made available to US residents who receive funds from government assistance programs like Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Women, Infants, and Children Nutrition Program (WIC). When the program launched past year, it was open to customers with an EBT card.

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The deal for Medicaid recipients is widely being portrayed as Amazon's strategy for "taking aim at Walmart" by wooing away low-income shoppers. 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.

In that regard, offering a social benefit for people who may have more challenges getting to a store or affording faster shipping could become sound business, too, said Avi Greengart, an analyst at Global Data. Eligible shoppers need to reapply once a year and are eligible for up to four years.

"This is just about our customers and our members and giving them the best of Amazon with an incredible selection of benefits". People can cancel the monthly membership anytime. The Prime promo price is only available to adult Medicaid cardholders. (Monthly subscriptions cost $12.99 a month after a price increase in January).

"I think customers that have tried this plan have seen enormous value from it", he added.

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