PHOENIX -- The golden years of retirement have become a nightmare for a Valley couple struggling with failing health and no insurance.
But for Bill and June Nelson, as well as thousands of other Arizonans, a little-known program may provide some much needed relief.
The program known as the The Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan, or PCIP, provides affordable coverage and reasonable co-pays for people who do not qualify for insurance but who do have pre-existing conditions.
June is a cancer survivor. Her husband, Bill, has suffered several heart attacks and has diabetes.
They estimate their medical bills total nearly $500,000.
"It’s scary, really scary," June said.
Her husband agrees, saying they don’t know what the next step is.
The next step, according to Connie Lambert , a case manager with the Maricopa Integrated Health system, is to apply for PCIP assistance.
Lambert said there are three easy requirements.
An applicant must be a citizen or legal resident, not qualify for health care assistance and have a pre-existing condition.
Lambert describes PCIP as a bridge until the national health care plan takes effect in 2014.
For the Nelsons it could be a lifesaver. They're now waiting to hear if their application has been approved.