Amazon discounts Prime membership for Medicaid recipients

Amazon discounts Prime membership for Medicaid recipients

Amazon discounts Prime membership for Medicaid recipients

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. After successfully bringing Prime into the majority of higher-income homes, Amazon now likely needs to look to lower-income shoppers to keep growing the program, which has tens of millions of subscribers in the US.

The online retailer opened its discounted $5.99-a-month Prime membership on Wednesday to people on Medicaid, giving it an even bigger pool of potential shoppers who may otherwise have been unable to pay the standard fee.

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Prime costs $99 annually, or $12.99 on a monthly basis. In a similar effort, Amazon previous year also introduced Amazon Cash, a way to help people without bank accounts load money into their Amazon accounts.

Amazon is seemingly shopping for new customers given that many upper-income consumers have already subscribed to Prime in the past.

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Finally, as Reuters points out, there may be an additional motive behind Amazon's push for Medicaid members. For the same price of $5.99 per month, Amazon offers Prime memberships to any USA customer with a valid Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card - the card that's used to disburse funds for assistance programs like Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and Women, Infants, and Children Nutrition Program (WIC).

Amazon has come under fire in the past for failing to accept EBT services. The $5.99 membership can be renewed every year for up to four years.

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Besides unlimited, fast free shipping, a Prime membership gives you unlimited access to Prime Video, Prime Music, and Prime Reading, unlimited photo storage via Prime Photos, discounts on games, early access to Amazon's Lightning Deals, and special discounts at Whole Foods. Prime membership for students is $6.49 a month.

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