Amazon offers Medicaid recipients discounted Prime memberships

Amazon is on the hunt to get every customer possible — no matter their income.

The e-commerce giant said Wednesday it will offer a discount on its Prime membership program — which includes free fast shipping and video streaming — to the millions of recipients of Medicaid, the public health insurance program for low-income Americans.

The price of the service will be cut in half to $5.99 a month from the normal rates of around $10.99 to $12.99 a month. Additionally, qualifying recipients will not be required to sign an annual commitment and can receive the discount for up to four years.

The move signals an ongoing effort by the Seattle-based retailer that it started last year when it announced the same discount to people receiving government food benefits, formerly known as food stamps.

The additional clientele would give Amazon more market share among low-income customers and those without access to traditional banking services or credit cards, which is one reason Amazon is reportedly in talks with some of Wall Street’s biggest banks, including JPMorgan Chase, in an effort to create a “checking-account-like” product for its customers.

The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this week that sources say Amazon is trying to create an Amazon-branded type checking account that would appeal to younger customers and those without bank accounts.

According to the Kaiser Foundation, to be eligible for Medicaid, which varies by state and certain situations, a family of three must have a maximum income of less than $28,000.

News of this program also deepens the company’s rivalry with its biggest competitor – Walmart, which already appeals to the less affluent market.