Medicaid Recipients Can Now Get a Discount on Amazon Prime

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

Amazon Prime costs $12.99 a month, but not everyone has to pay that much for it.

Inc. said on Wednesday it was expanding its discounted Prime membership offer to Medicaid members, the USA government's health insurance program for the poor.

The move vastly expands the number of people now eligible for that discounted rate, with about 35 million American adults enrolled in Medicaid, the public health insurance program for people with low income. Prime is just $5.99/month for qualifying customers with an EBT or Medicaid card.

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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 has been working to offer more services for lower-income shoppers, including discounted Prime memberships and Amazon Cash. More than 42 million participate in the food stamps program, through what is now called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

Amazon's move comes nearly nine months after it said previously that it would offer customers on USA government aid discounted membership fees.

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The goal of these discounts, according to Amazon executive Aaron Perrine, is to give more people access to "aspects of the digital economy - some conveniences and benefits - that I think a lot of us take for granted".

Amazon Prime memberships are now available at the special price of $5.99 per month for tens of millions of American consumers. The new offer is valid for up to four years, Amazon told Reuters.

The Medicaid connection may also stir more nerves among healthcare companies anxious about tentative moves by Amazon to sell and distribute some medical supplies and drugs.

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The cheapest option for a typical Amazon Prime member is to pay $100 a year to renew their membership on an annual basis.

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