Amazon has just announced that they will start giving discounts on Prime memberships to families who are on Medicaid.
Why is this a huge deal?
First, an estimated 73 million Americans receive their healthcare benefits through the government. And if you’ve ever been on Medicaid, then you know very well how modest you must live in order to qualify. In the state of Maine, for example, a family of five must live on less than $3,700 per month. When you break that down into a mortgage, heat, food, utilities, car insurance, and miscellaneous other costs associated with having kids – or a pulse – then that $3,700 starts to look like not enough to make ends meet.
Living on Medicaid, and having to essentially live poor, also means that a majority of mainstream life becomes suddenly inaccessible, such as vacations, name brand clothes, eating out, or ordering things off the internet — something that many families on a low income could benefit from, since it takes out the need to go to a store.
In fact, many people may not realize that families on Medicaid are more likely to have limited or no access to reliable transportation. They also may have one or both parents working and unable to get to a store. As a mother on Medicaid and taking care of three kids, one of whom has a serious life-threatening condition, Prime has saved our hide countless times.
The company released the announcement on their blog today. Families who are on Medicaid and who have a valid EBT or Medicaid card can qualify for $5.99 a month access to Prime membership. The company says that customers can renew their discounted membership annually for up to four years and can, of course, cancel at any time.
The discounted Prime does not take away from the usual benefits that customers have grown accustomed to. The discount covers Prime Video, Prime Music, Prime Photos, Prime Reading, Audible Channels for Prime, Amazon First Reads, Twitch Prime, Early Access, Prime shipping, and Prime Now.
The discount starts today and covers monthly membership. If customers choose the annual option, the fee is still $99 for regular customers and $49 for students. Recently, Amazon announced that monthly users would see a monthly Prime fee increase from $10.99 to $12.99, which is a 20 percent increase — making the news of this monthly membership discount especially good.
Being able to afford access to Amazon, which offers more than just goods, but access to cultural phenomena like books, TV shows, and popular items for kids, is so valuable for families struggling to get by. It’s a huge deal.