Amazon is making another move in its courtship of lower-income shoppers, announcing a discount on its Amazon Prime monthly membership fee for recipients of Medicaid. The cheaper subscription includes all of the perks and benefits of the regular Prime membership, including music and video streaming, and fast shipping for free. "We hope to make Prime even more accessible", said Amazon Prime Vice President Cem Sibay in a statement. From single parents with special-needs kids to disabled veterans, the Amazon Prime discount has liberated those whose circumstances make in-store shopping hard.
At the end of 2017, almost 70 million people were enrolled in Medicaid, the federal health insurance program for low-income Americans.
About 41 million people receive food stamp benefits, according to November 2017 data, and over 80% of SNAP benefits are redeemed at supermarkets and superstores. The majority of the remaining recipients are either 65 or older, disabled or working part or full time.
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Interested customers looking to take advantage of this hefty discount on Prime memberships will have to upload images of their Medicaid or EBT cards to prove that they are eligible.
While the real prize for Amazon might be online spending of those SNAP funds, low-income Americans can already spend their benefits in-store at Amazon-owned Whole Foods, or spend their own income on all the goods Amazon has to offer.
By establishing a tier for Medicaid recipients, Amazon adds another entry point to its services to people in lower income brackets.
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Amazon has come under fire in the past for failing to accept EBT services.
On Monday a report in The Wall Street Journal suggested Amazon was considering a debit-card-like program for those without access to credit cards.
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