Why we built Wally

We get asked all the time how Wally came to be - here’s the answer.

For most of us, a trip to the dentist lands somewhere between a total drag and an anxiety-provoking experience complete with feelings of dread, frustration, and even fear. We all know someone with a dental health horror story; heck, many of us have at least one of our own. Let’s be honest: Finding a great dentist is hard — and finding a dental insurance plan that doesn’t feel like a waste of money is even harder.

Even a simple teeth cleaning can stir up anxiety about the pain you might experience and even embarrassment or shame that your teeth don’t quite look the way you’d like them to. It can also bring up financial worries; after all, it’s close to impossible to know what the bill will be at the end. And, if something needs fixing, it’s even harder to figure out what is (or isn’t!) covered by your insurance and why.

As the founders of Wally, we know this to be true because before we started our company, we were frustrated dental patients just like you. One day it hit us that we were wasting money on dental insurance plans that we hated, and that our favorite dentists also hated. 

We knew we could do better. And that’s why we built Wally. 

The big problem with dental insurance

When you dig into why, exactly, the overall dental experience is so bad, all paths lead back to dental insurance companies. The current industry — which is almost completely monopolized by companies like Delta Dental — is overly complicated, complex, and costly. Reimbursement rates continue to decline every year, which means dentists who take insurance are getting backed into a corner. This ultimately affects the quality of your care, creating the perfect storm for factory-like dental practices. AKA: High volume, rushed appointments, non-transparent costs, and even unnecessary treatments that are easy to get paid for by the insurance company. (Cue the dental horror stories.)  

If you have dental insurance, you likely aren’t sure what you’re paying for and whether it’s actually worth it. Having to find a dentist that’s in-network and has availability is a herculean effort. And the likelihood that your plan will cover the services you need? Slim to none. At some point, we have to ask ourselves: Is this even insurance?

If you’ve crunched the numbers, you may decide to forgo dental insurance altogether. This is not uncommon. The result, close to 50% of patients who regularly go to the dentist are uninsured, which means billions of dollars are spent out-of-pocket each year on dental care. 

When the best solution is no solution at all, you know there’s a problem. It’s a sign that it’s time to shake things up in the dental insurance industry — and exactly what Wally is doing.

How Wally is shaking up dental insurance 

As frustrated dental patients, we knew we needed to find a solution for ourselves as well as our friends and loved ones- small business owners, freelancers, and retirees who had decided to go uninsured to spare the headache of finding a plan and a good dentist. 

We started simplifying the whole experience. For providers, that means spending less time on paperwork and more time with you, which ultimately means a better experience for everyone. 

Wally is not insurance; there are no deductibles or yearly maximums or reimbursements. Instead, we simply connect you to one of our great dentists and guarantee easy scheduling and a predictable, personalized experience. As a Wally member, you pay affordable monthly or annual fees to get the easy access to preventive care like cleanings, X-rays, annual exams, and more. If you do end up needing additional care — like a filling, crown, or clear aligners — we make sure you have access to simple and transparent savings. 

How is this all possible? Because the best dentists are ones that don’t rely on fillings and needless treatments to maximize profits. Instead, our dentists focus on preventive care and also spend their time on more complex issues, which means they’re here for you when you need them most, but not trying to maximize when you don’t. And, if you don’t want to get off the couch, you can chat with Wally’s Care Team to answer your questions online or even set up a virtual visit with one of our amazing dentists!

The result is a better experience with less money spent — and no more dental horror stories. Dare we say that with Wally, you might even start liking the dentist. 

By turning dental insurance on its head, Wally provides you with the smart, simple dental care you deserve.

- Tyler & Stipe

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