TECHNOLOGY

Amazon discounts Prime membership for Medicaid recipients

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Amazon is making a new move that targets even more customers that require government assistance. It’s also one that takes a direct swing at Walmart, which has a strong following among lower income customers.

The online giant is discounting its Prime membership to qualifying recipients of Medicaid, a government-assisted health insurance program for low-income individuals. Eligible customers can sign up for membership at the discounted rate of $5.99 per month. The regular annual membership for Prime is $99 per year, or $12.99 a month.

Amazon believes the program, which features “low prices and convenient delivery options” will especially benefit customers that have limited access to local stores or physical limitations, according to the company.

“We hope to make Prime even more accessible,” said Cem Sibay, VP, Amazon Prime. “With more than 100 million products to choose from, low prices, time savings, and fast and convenient delivery options, the combination of shipping, shopping and entertainment provide tremendous value to customers.”

This is the second big move Amazon has made to extend its Prime program to a lower-income customer segment. In June, the online giant got the ball rolling when it offered a $5.99 monthly membership to individuals participating in government assistance programs.

To qualify, customers must present a valid electronics benefit transfer (EBT) card. The card is commonly used to disburse funds for several government assistance programs, including Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and Women, Infants, and Children Nutrition Program (WIC) EBT, however, cannot be used to pay for membership.

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