Amazon targets Medicaid population

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SEATTLE— Amazon.com plans to offer discounts on its Amazon Prime service to Medicaid recipients.

Low-income individuals who are eligible for the government health insurance program will be able to sign up for Prime for $5.99 a month, a $7 discount from its standard monthly cost of $12.99.

To qualify for the Amazon Prime Medicaid discount, an individual must either be on Medicaid or have an electronic benefits card.

Amazon logoThe announcement comes after Amazon said last year that it would offer a low-cost version of Prime for U.S. customers who receive government assistance.

A Prime subscription gets such user perks as free two-day shipping on many items on Amazon, access to Amazon’s music and video streaming platforms, and access to its food-shipping service Prime Pantry.

The move will push Amazon more directly into competition with Walmart, whose low-cost items help it dominate low-income markets.

Walmart, as part of its effort to compete more directly with Amazon, purchased the e-commerce platform Jet.com in 2016 for $3.3 billion.

The push by Amazon into lower-income demographics comes at a time when Walmart and other traditional brick-and-mortar suppliers have been fighting the online shopping giant’s arrival by seeking to attract more high-spending shoppers.

The Medicaid connection could once again stir up concerns among health care companies worried about tentative moves by Amazon to sell and distribute some medical supplies and prescription drugs.



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