Amazon Prime Membership Just Became Cheaper for Millions of People

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

Amazon expands discounted Prime program for people on government assistance to cover Medicaid

In June, Amazon first introduced this discounted price for shoppers who receive government assistance in the form of an Electronic Benefits Transfer card.

Targeting low-income customers is a key part of the war between Amazon and Walmart. Prime membership for students is $6.49 a month.

Medicaid provides health insurance to millions of Americans, including low-income adults, children, the elderly and people with disabilities. Qualified customers would be able to renew their Amazon Prime subscriptions annually at the discounted rate for up to four years, Amazon said.

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. But it's not altruism; Amazon Prime has been widely adopted by middle-class and well-off Americans, so if the membership program is going to continue to grow in the US, the company has to figure out how to attract other demographics. More than 42 million participate in the food stamps program, through what is now called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. The service counts tens of millions of Americans among its customers (the program is used by nearly half of USA households by to some estimates.) It has made Amazon's e-commerce site even stickier among members, who ramp up use as they look to get their money's worth. There is no annual commitment and customers can cancel the membership at any time. Amazon Prime customers typically spend more and buy more frequently on Amazon than non-members do.

With about 74 million people receiving Medicaid, according to 2017 Medicaid enrollment data, Amazon is positioned to fold in a new market for Prime, which is one of its three pillars of business along with its marketplace and cloud computing service.

To apply for the discounted Prime, Medicaid recipients need to take a photo of their Medicaid card and upload it to the site.

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