35 million Medicaid recipients eligible for low-priced Amazon Prime membership

Amazon is taking aim at Walmart by offering a 54 percent discount on Prime memberships for Medicaid recipients

Amazon does not report the number of prime members it now has. That may soon change.

Gizmodo reports that the online retail giant is offering its Prime program to Medicaid recipients at a steep discount - $5.99 a month as compared to the usual $12.99.

As many as 35 million adult Americans are eligible for the discounted rate. This follows a previous outreach effort aimed at those with cards used in other public assistance programs.

Amazon's intentions, of course, aren't wholly altruistic.

The New York Times says the move expands a previous Amazon effort started a year ago, when it offered Prime discounts to people with Electronic Benefit Transfer cards, used to distribute aid for food purchases. Amazon Prime customers typically spend more and buy more frequently on Amazon than non-members do.

Amazon has come under fire in the past for failing to accept EBT services. The retailer took in 18% of all food stamps several years ago. 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). The new membership will be available immediately after signing up, Perrine said. The $5.99 membership can be renewed every year 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".

The discounted Prime service includes Prime Video and Prime Music streaming services, in addition to unlimited two-day shipping. If you receive Medicaid benefits, you can now get Prime at a discounted rate as well. The $5.99-a-month price compares to the regular $12.99 pay-by-month option and is almost $30 cheaper than the $99-annual-fee plan. Prime membership for students is $6.49 a month. He said Prime has helped save her time and money by helping her skip some of those errands. "We couldn't be more excited about the response".

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

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