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Amazon Prime Offers Reduced Membership

Medicaid, EBT card recipients now eligible

Amazon Low Income Membership

Jeramey Lende/Alamy

Amazon is cutting its membership fee by more than half for some.

Shoppers who can’t afford $99 for an annual Amazon Prime membership may have a new option. The online retail giant is expanding its offering of a reduced membership price for low-income shoppers to include Medicaid recipients.

Amazon’s discounted rate of $5.99 per month is more than half off the full-price monthly membership of $10.99. The company began the discount program in June 2017, but only people with an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card were eligible. At the time, MSN reported an estimated 20 percent of the U.S. population could take advantage of the reduced-price membership.

“We designed this membership option for customers receiving government assistance to make our everyday selection and savings more accessible, including the many conveniences and entertainment benefits of Prime,” said Greg Greeley, vice president of Amazon Prime.

Amazon is tapping into a new market, competing with retails stores such as Walmart, which generated about $13 billion in sales in 2016 from shoppers using the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, also known as food stamps, MSN reported. Walmart has also worked to get more online retail customers by offering free shipping on orders over $35; no membership is necessary. The company also acquired low-cost online retailer in 2016.

How to sign up for low-cost Amazon Prime

  • Only customers who have a valid EBT or Medicaid card qualify for the discounted membership at this time. The card will be used for proof of eligibility but cannot be used to pay for membership. 
  • Customers can qualify every 12 months, up to four times. 
  • More information is available on Amazon's website.

Amazon’s Prime membership includes free two-day shipping on qualifying items, Prime Video, Prime Music and a selection of e-books. While the company offers a discount to full-price members signing up for an annual $99 membership, no additional discounts are available for people qualifying under the new discount plan.