Amazon is planning to extend Prime subscriptions to people enrolled in Medicaid for the discount price of $5.99 a month instead of the recent price increase to $12.99/month or $99 a year.

The $5.99 a month calculates to a 27% break on the annual Prime membership cost.

Medicaid enrollees who want to take advantage of the deal must provide Amazon with a scan or image of the card they use for their benefit (either Medicaid or EBT). These consumers can enroll annually, for a maximum of four years.

Here’s what the Seattle Times, Amazon’s hometown newspaper, said about the program. And, here’s a link to coverage of the story in Mundo Hispanico, targeted to a Latino audience.

Health Populi’s Hot Points:  I’ve talked and written about this concept in the past couple of years as one way to extend healthy eating and living opportunities to people residing in food and commercial deserts — a way to overcome a key social determinant of health which is healthy food access. Amazon began to extend Prime delivery for people with SNAP (food stamp) benefits in June 2017, which the Los  Angeles Times discussed in this article.

If a family with low-income deems $5.99 a month a value to access Amazon Prime’s benefits, it’s a good thing for them especially to bolster aspects of living that bring health, wellness (physical and financial) and happiness to them.

I believe that this program could disproportionately benefit families in Medicaid with young children. In 2017, in 24 states, 50% of babies were born into families enrolled in Medicaid. So imagine how useful having Prime delivery for diapers, formula, and other kids’ consumables would be.

As Amazon continues to evolve its health and healthcare strategies — from employee benefits to pharmacy and “front-of-store” private labelled over-the-counter products, along with Alexa’s growing user base, having a larger community of potential consumer purchasers benefits the company. As Amazon grows its consumer base or those purchasers, the company also gathers more information about these consumers and learns more about all of us, in and beyond Prime. That data can be used for good use, particularly if it’s mashed up for health and wellness purposes that directly, positively and transparently benefit the very people whose data informs the company’s commercial goals.

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