Amazon Launches discounted Prime for Medicaid Recipients

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Amazon has added Medicaid recipients to a program that offers a discount option for the popular Prime fast-shipping program to people on government assistance.

To qualify for the discounted Prime membership, which normally costs $12.99, customers must have a valid EBT or Medicaid card.

Medicaid provides health insurance to millions of Americans, including low-income adults, children, the elderly and people with disabilities.

The Prime members will still receive benefits of full paying members such as Prime Video, Music, Photos, Reading, Audible channels, Prime Now, and even free same-day and one-day shipping.

The discounted Prime membership is the latest effort from Amazon to expand its service to low-income families and individuals.

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The company initiated the discount program past year with an offer to people with electronic benefit transfer (EBT) cards issued by state welfare agencies to those who qualify for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP or, formerly, food stamps) and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) programs. Qualified customers would be able to renew their Amazon Prime subscriptions annually at the discounted rate for up to four years, Amazon said.

Amazon has been offering the same discount to Electronic Benefits Transfer cardholders since June.

Obviously, the discounts help people save money compared to the normal cost of Amazon Prime. The retailer took in 18% of all food stamps several years ago.

Expanding access for lower-income households to affordable products is likely to benefit Medicaid recipients who may otherwise have limited access to the goods and services they need.

The Medicaid connection may also stir more nerves among healthcare companies anxious about tentative moves by Amazon to sell and distribute some medical supplies and drugs.

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