Amazon offers Prime memberships for Medicaid recipients for $5.99; 54% discount

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

The e-commerce titan said Wednesday it will now offer the popular membership program to Medicaid recipients for $5.99 a month, less than half the regular monthly price. To get the lower Prime rate, you had to have an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card, which is given to people who qualify for assistance programs like Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and Women, Infants, and Children Nutrition Program (WIC). When the program launched a year ago, it was open to customers with an EBT card.

With these discounted memberships, Amazon threatens to steal low-income customers from Walmart.

Customers with Prime memberships are more lucrative for Amazon, according to a 2017 report from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners.

Amazon's move comes nearly nine months after it said previously that it would offer customers on USA government aid discounted membership fees.

Tony Carr struggles as Penn State's run ends in Big Ten semifinals
Ohio State forward Miguel Fidler controls the puck next to Wisconsin goalie Jack Berry during last year's Big Ten tournament . Third-seeded Purdue (28-5) faces No. 5 MI , which will try to repeat as tournament champs on Sunday at Madison Square Garden.

"We hope to make Prime even more accessible", Amazon Prime Vice President Cem Sibay said in a statement. Morgan Stanley reported in December that growth in Amazon Prime memberships is also flattening out with the percentage of Americans who have Prime holding steady at about 40% between the end of 2016 and the third quarter of 2017.

In that regard, offering a social benefit for people who may have more challenges getting to a store or affording faster shipping could become sound business, too, said Avi Greengart, an analyst at Global Data. But Medicaid members will only have to pay $5.99 after a 30-day free trial period. There is no annual commitment and customers can cancel the membership at any time. Eligible shoppers need to reapply once a year and are eligible for up to four years.

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

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