How Kit Return Rates Impact Payors

Health Plans

How Kit Return Rates Impact Payors

Ash Team

In the ever-evolving landscape of healthcare, at-home diagnostics have emerged as a promising solution for empowering individuals to take control of their health. From monitoring chronic conditions to early disease detection, these kits offer convenience and accessibility like never before. However, behind the scenes, there's a critical factor that's often overlooked: the impact of kit return rates on payors – the entities responsible for financing healthcare services. Let's delve into this often underestimated aspect of at-home diagnostics.

At-Home Diagnostics

At-home diagnostics empower individuals to gather samples such as blood, stool, urine, or other specimens and send them via mail to a laboratory for examination. Healthcare providers or insurance companies may facilitate the process of home diagnostic testing to screen patients, whereas digital health firms might also enable patients to request tests through online platforms or physical retail outlets.

Home diagnostics address numerous obstacles to accessing care, including transportation challenges, work commitments, and childcare constraints. For patients in remote or rural regions with limited healthcare access, home diagnostics extend crucial services via telehealth to a wider demographic. Additionally, many patients prefer the comfort and privacy of conducting tests at home, often due to concerns about stigma or trust issues with medical professionals. Utilizing mail-in kits, home diagnostics offer a cost-effective alternative for health plans and providers compared to remote phlebotomy services.

The Importance of Kit Return Rates

While the convenience and privacy of at-home diagnostics are undeniable benefits, there's a crucial step that determines their effectiveness: returning the test kits to the lab for analysis. Unlike traditional medical tests where samples are collected and processed in clinics or laboratories, at-home diagnostics rely heavily on user compliance with returning their samples for analysis.

Impact on Payors

For health plans and insurers, kit return rates directly impact the effectiveness and cost-efficiency of incorporating at-home diagnostics into their coverage. 

  1. Cost Management: At-home diagnostic tests often come with a price tag, whether covered partially or fully by health plans. When kits aren't returned, payors bear the cost without reaping the benefits of the diagnostic insights they provide. It also limits the ability to utilize insights to improve HEDIS and Star scores. This inefficiency can strain budgets and lead to higher healthcare costs overall.
  2. Data Accuracy and Utilization: Low kit return rates result in incomplete data sets, undermining the reliability and utility of diagnostic insights. Inaccurate or incomplete data can lead to improper diagnosis, ineffective treatments, and ultimately, poorer health outcomes for patients. This poses risks not only to patients but also to payors who may face increased claims due to preventable complications.
  3. Strategic Decision-Making: Payors rely on data-driven insights to make informed decisions about coverage, provider networks, and population health management. Low kit return rates limit the availability of real-world data needed to assess the efficacy of at-home diagnostics and tailor strategies accordingly. Without comprehensive data, payors may miss opportunities to optimize resources and improve patient outcomes.

Schedule a time to talk with Ash Wellness about at-home diagnostic testing with improved return rates for payors. 

Addressing the Challenge

Improving kit return rates requires a multifaceted approach involving education, engagement, and incentives:

  1. Education: Clear, concise instructions and educational materials can enhance user understanding of the importance of returning their test kits. Providing information on the potential impact of their actions on their health and healthcare costs can motivate compliance.
  2. Engagement: Leveraging digital health platforms, reminders, and follow-up communications can help keep users engaged throughout the testing process. Personalized support and access to resources can address barriers and encourage adherence.
  3. Incentives: Offering incentives such as discounts on premiums, rewards points, or wellness incentives for returning test kits can incentivize compliance and foster a culture of proactive health management.


Kit return rates may seem like a small detail in the realm of at-home diagnostics, but their impact on payors cannot be overstated. By recognizing the importance of addressing this challenge and implementing strategies to improve compliance, stakeholders can unlock the full potential of at-home diagnostics to improve health outcomes, contain costs, and shape the future of healthcare delivery. As technology continues to advance and healthcare evolves, optimizing kit return rates will remain a critical priority for payors committed to delivering quality care efficiently.

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