Amazon offers discount Prime membership to Medicaid recipients

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(March 7): Inc said on Wednesday it was expanding its discounted Prime membership offer to Medicaid members, the US government's health insurance program for the poor.

The move from the e-commerce giant comes nine months after it said it would offer a discount on its popular Prime subscription service for shoppers who receive US government aid.

To qualify for the discounted US$5.99 monthly Prime membership, customers must have a valid Electronic Benefits Transfer or Medicaid card and can renew it annually for up to four years, the company said.

The US$12.99-per month or US$99-per-year prime service offers users added perks like low prices and faster delivery for certain purchases and shipped over 5 billion items worldwide last year.

Any push by Amazon into poorer demographics comes at a time when traditional brick-and-mortar suppliers like Walmart Inc have been fighting the online shopping giant's arrival by seeking to attract more high-spending shoppers.

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