Renowned for its mountain resorts, dramatic landscapes and arid high-desert climate, New Mexico has been a sought-after retirement destination for decades. Today, seniors represent 18% of the state’s 2,096,829 residents, and New Mexico is projected to have the nation’s fourth-largest senior population by 2030.

While New Mexico has four unique regions, many of the state’s amenities and top-performing medical facilities are located in Albuquerque, Santa Fe and other major cities. The state is also home to 76 nursing homes that accommodate more than 5,800 residents. These facilities provide intermediate or skilled care to residents who have advanced medical needs or require specialized rehabilitative services. According to Genworth Financial’s 2020 Cost of Care Survey, which tracks nursing home costs nationally and regionally, a semiprivate room in New Mexico costs $7,406 per month. Residents pay $8,304, about $900 more, for private accommodations. Although skilled nursing is more expensive than other forms of long-term care, rates tend to be lower than the U.S. average.

This guide looks at average nursing home costs in New Mexico and programs that can help with these expenses. It also provides information about nursing home regulations, government agencies and nonprofits that can help along the way.

The Cost of Nursing Home Care in New Mexico

Seniors in New Mexico benefit from competitive nursing home rates averaging around $7,406 per month. Although prices are $350 lower than the U.S. median, they’re higher than most neighboring states. Average rates range from $5,019 in Texas, which represents a monthly savings of $2,387, to $8,517 in Colorado where rates are $1,111 higher. Seniors in Arizona pay $6,844 or about $560 less per month of care. Average rates are also $1,018 lower in Utah and $2,083 lower in Oklahoma.

$7406

New Mexico

$7756

The United States

$6844

Arizona

$6388

Utah

$8517

Colorado

$5323

Oklahoma

$5019

Texas

Nursing home costs in New Mexico vary by more than $3,300 per month. Albuquerque, the state’s most populous city, is the most expensive option at $8,330. Seniors in Santa Fe pay $8,060 per month, which is $654 more than the state median. Rates are slightly more affordable than average in Las Cruces at $7,336, and seniors in Farmington pay $6,915 per month, about $500 less than the state median. Several other cities provide a more competitive value, especially near the Texas border. In Roswell and El Paso, rates average around $5,232. Clovis is similar to Amarillo at $5,171, and Hobbs is even lower at $5,019, which is comparable to Odessa.

$8330

Albuquerque

$8060

Santa Fe

$6915

Farmington

$7336

Las Cruces

$5232

Roswell

$5019

Hobbs

$5171

Clovis

Long-term care costs in New Mexico are relatively affordable across the board. However, nursing homes are the most expensive option with an average monthly cost of $7,406. Household services and medical assistance provided by home health care agencies cost $4,290-$4,385 per month, which is slightly lower than the national average. Assisted living facilities cost $3,356 less than skilled nursing at $4,050 per month, and adult day health care costs $2,513, which is higher than in other parts of the country.

$4290

In-Home Care

$4385

Home Health Care

$2513

Adult Day Care

$4050

Assisted Living Facility

$7406

Nursing Home Care

Does Medicaid Cover Nursing Home Care in New Mexico?

New Mexico’s Medicaid program is called Centennial Care, and it is administered through the Human Service Department (HSD). As of late 2021, Centennial Care enrolled 809,955 residents, of whom 20%, or approximately 162,000, were seniors and/or disabled. The state has 70 nursing homes with 6,942 licensed beds. Centennial Care typically covers the entirety of nursing home costs for eligible seniors, including room and board, therapies, daily activities and 24-hour nursing care. 

Centennial Care is a managed care program, with services provided through one of three entities, including Blue Cross/Blue Shield and Presbyterian. With this general Medicaid program, seniors receive full coverage of nursing home services and some personal care assistance.

The state also offers a Medicaid Waiver program for seniors who wish to avoid institutional care. This is known as a Community Benefit version of Centennial Care, and it includes services such as adult day care, respite and assistance with activities of daily living.

Medicaid Eligibility in New Mexico

The income limits for seniors differ depending on marital status. If married, income limits depend upon whether one or both married partners are applying. Single seniors applying for the program can make up to $2,349 per month. Married couples who are both applying for assistance can make $4,698 per month. If only one spouse needs to enter a nursing home, they can make up to $2,349 per month, and only that applicant’s income is considered when determining eligibility.

In addition to being income-dependent, financial eligibility is also affected by the value of a person’s assets. Single applicants can have assets amounting to $2,000. Married couples can have up to $4,000 in assets if both are applying. If just one spouse applies, the applicant’s asset limit is $2,000. Due to the Spousal Impoverishment Act, the spouse can have assets up to $128,640.

2022 Medicaid Income Limits for Seniors in New Mexico

Income Limits* 
Asset Limits

Single Applicant

$2,349

$2,000

Two-Person Household
(Only One Person Applying)

$2,000

$2,000 for applicant 
$137,400 for non-applicant

Two-Person Household
(Both People Applying)

$4,698

$4,000

*Per month

In addition to the income eligibility requirements for seniors, those who are applying for Centennial Care must also be legal residents of New Mexico. They may be U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals, legal aliens or permanent residents.

How To Apply for Medicaid in New Mexico

Seniors interested in applying for Centennial Care can do so online, over the phone or in person.

Online: Interested seniors can visit the YESNM website to apply for coverage. First, applicants will create a username and password for the site. Once they have created and verified the account, they can complete the application online and submit when finished.

Telephone: Seniors can apply for Medicaid over the phone by calling the Consolidated Customer Service Center at 800-283-4465 anytime; alternatively, they may call the hotline Monday through Friday between 7:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. and speak with a company representative directly.

Paper application: Seniors can download the paper application, fill it out completely, sign it and mail it to the following address: 

Central ASPEN Scanning Area
PO Box 830
Bernalillo, NM, 87004

Alternatively, they can fax the completed application to 1-855-804-8960, or deliver it in person to their local Income Support Division (ISD) office. 

Information You Will Need

During the application process, you will need to establish proof of citizenship and residency in addition to proof of income. Please ensure you have the following ready:

  • A U.S. passport, certificate of naturalization, certificate of U.S. citizenship, government-issued ID or proof of membership in a federally recognized Native tribe
  • If you don’t have stand-alone evidence proving citizenship, a U.S. birth certificate, U.S. citizen identification card, final adoption decree or another comparable document may be acceptable
  • Proof of income, which might include bank statements, pay stubs, income tax statements, Social Security award letters or hand-written notes

Additional Medicaid Support & Resources in New Mexico

The following table provides information for New Mexico applicants and can be used in the event that you need a helping hand to complete the paperwork.

Resource
Contact
Service

(800) 283-4665

New Mexico’s HSD is the organization responsible for accepting and approving Medicaid applications, so they can handle any of the problems seniors might have in filling out the paperwork for the ConnectCare program. Callers also have access to the helpful customer service team in the Income Support Division, who can help seniors figure out what proof of citizenship, income or residency would be the easiest for them to use on their application. 

(800) 432-2080

The ADRC can help seniors find information about the various Medicaid options available to elders, including the Medicaid Waiver programs. Additionally, through NMHIX (New Mexico Health Exchange), seniors can get help finding health care coverage outside of Medicaid.

Online Only

This bilingual page provides a one-stop shop for New Mexico consumers looking for information on Medicaid and how to check for other health insurance options. Visitors to this page can find all the phone numbers, links and secondary sources they might need to determine their eligibility for different programs.

Does Medicare Cover Nursing Home Care in New Mexico?

Medicare provides limited coverage for short-term stays in a skilled nursing facility following a hospital stay, but seniors must meet a number of specific requirements. This benefit is available to beneficiaries who have been hospitalized for at least three days, excluding the date of discharge, so it’s most valuable for those who are recovering from an injury, illness or surgery.

Once seniors meet the hospitalization requirement, Medicare will pay for up to 100 days of skilled nursing per benefit period. The first 20 days are covered in full. Starting on day 21, beneficiaries must pay a daily coinsurance rate. After day 100, seniors are responsible for the entire cost.

What Does Medicare Cover?

Medicare covers a number of specific services, including:

  • Meals
  • A semiprivate room
  • Medications
  • Skilled nursing
  • Physical therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Speech therapy
  • Audiologist care
  • Medical supplies
  • Medical social services
  • Nutritional counseling
  • Ambulance transportation

What Isn’t Covered by Medicare?

Medicare does not cover long-term custodial care that addresses seniors’ day-to-day needs. This includes help with daily activities, such as bathing, dressing and using medical equipment.

For more information about Medicare and when it covers Nursing Home Care, read our Guide to Nursing Homes.

Although most seniors find it easy to enroll in Medicare when they reach the age at which they’re eligible, it can be confusing to find the resources they need to most benefit from retiring. Here are some available resources for assistance with the Medicare sign-up process.

Resource
Contact
Service

(800) 432-2080

Seniors can receive free Medicare counseling and help with enrolling in Medicare. The department can also provide valuable information on health plan options, provide tips for avoiding health care fraud and assist seniors in changing plans.

(800) 633-4227

The best place to find out everything about Medicare is to go to the source. Here, seniors can learn about the cost of Medicare in 2022, connect to someone locally, find health and drug plans and apply for benefits. Visitors to the site can create an account or call the helpline at 1-800-MEDICARE.

(800) 722-1213

Learn about the benefits of being retired, read about new Social Security programs or keep up with your information. Most of what you'll need can be found on this site, whether advice, personal insurance information (such as a benefit verification letter) or access to emergency assistance for seniors.

Other Financial Assistance Options for Nursing Home Care in New Mexico

While Medicaid and Medicare are two of the most common programs used to pay for Nursing Home Care, there are other financial assistance options available, depending on your unique situation.

How to Apply
How It Works

Aid and Attendance

Learn more and apply online at va.gov.

Veterans who receive a VA pension may also be eligible for the Aid and Attendance benefit, a monthly cash allowance that veterans receive in addition to their standard pension amount. The benefit is intended for veterans in need of long-term care services and may be used towards paying for skilled nursing care.

Reverse Mortgages

Learn more about your options and how to apply at ftc.gov

If you own a home, you may be able to use a reverse mortgage to help pay for nursing care. Reverse mortgages are loans that one can take out against the value of their home, essentially converting some of the home's equity into cash. Reverse mortgage loans do need to be repaid with interest, typically within 12 months of receiving the loan.

Long-Term Care (LTC) Insurance

Learn more about Long-Term Care Insurance and how to apply for a policy at acl.gov.

Seniors who already have long-term care insurance may be able to use it to pay for skilled nursing care. Most policies cover at least a portion of the cost, but it depends on the specific policy terms. Note that older adults who are already in need of skilled nursing care will not typically be eligible to sign up for a LTC insurance policy.

Free and Low-Cost Resources for Seniors in New Mexico

New Mexico seniors have a wealth of free or almost-free resources when they need to navigate the world of senior living, from organizations that offer a wide swath of services to agencies with very specific audiences. Here is a diverse compilation of resources for the elderly who call New Mexico home. 

Resource
Contact
Service

(505) 265-1711

Veterans can call the New Mexico VA Healthcare office to learn about the Aid and Attendance benefit for help paying for home care or nursing home level care in the home. They can also request information on the New Mexico State Veterans’ Home (NMSVH), a senior care facility that offers nursing home, memory care and assisted living.

(505) 867-6046

The New Mexico Caregivers Coalition provides information and advocacy information for caregivers and offers low-cost background checks for families who want to check out potential caregivers before hiring them.

(866) 451-2901

This program is associated with the New Mexico Aging & Long-Term Services Department, offering seniors a vast array of services. One of its most familiar uses is in advocating for seniors who are having difficulty with their long-term care facility. The program also helps elders with care planning, questions they have about available resources in their area and Medicaid/Medicare enrollment.

(800) 876-6657

The Legal Resources for the Elderly Program (LREP) is a free program that advises residents 55+ on legal issues. There is no income qualification for these workshops, clinics or one-on-one advice. Seniors have access to quality advice on conservatorships, wills, trusts, debt collection, transfer on death deeds and other topics relevant to the elderly.

COVID-19 Rules for Nursing Homes in New Mexico

The following information is based on research done on several government websites, including cv.nmhealth.org/long-term-care-guidelines. These rules apply to Independent Living Communities and other types of senior living facilities. We’ve most recently updated this data on 2/10/2022, but since COVID-19 is a rapidly evolving pandemic, contact your local senior living facility or Area Agency on Aging for more specific and up-to-date information.

Visitation Policies

Rules for New Mexico Communities

Are loved ones allowed to visit to provide emotional support?

Yes (Conditions Apply)

Are relatives allowed to visit for end-of-life care?

Yes

Are residents required to quarantine after visiting with a loved one?

No

Are visitors required to wear PPE (including masks) in order to visit residents?

Yes

Are non-medical contractors (such as hairdressers and entertainers) allowed in senior living facilities?

Yes

Are visitors checked for elevated temperatures?

Yes

Are visitors required to answer questions about health, travel, and potential virus contact?

Yes

Outings & Social Activities

Rules for New Mexico Communities

Are residents allowed to leave (errands, visiting family, etc.) for non-medical reasons?

Yes

Are residents who leave required to quarantine when they return?

No (Conditions Apply)

Are senior living communities required to cancel all group outings?

No

Are residents allowed to eat meals together in a common area?

Yes (Conditions Apply)

Are residents allowed to gather in common areas for group activites?

Yes (Conditions Apply)

COVID-19 Safety Measures for Staff and Residents

Rules for New Mexico Communities

Are staff members regularly required to do a temperature check?

Yes

Are staff members regularly tested for COVID-19?

Yes (Conditions Apply)

Are staff members members regularly required to do a health and safety screening, including questions about travel, contact with positive cases, etc?

Yes

Are residents regularly screened for COVID-19 symptoms?

Yes

Are residents regularly checked for elevated temperatures?

Yes

Are residents regularly tested for COVID-19?

Yes (Conditions Apply)

Nursing Home Laws and Regulations in New Mexico

Nursing Home Laws and Regulations in New Mexico
Licensing
Intermediate and skilled nursing facilities in New Mexico are regulated by the bureau of Health Facility Licensing & Certification, which is part of the Department of Health, Division of Health Improvement.
Staffing
Long-term care facilities must maintain sufficient staff to meet residents' needs 24 hours a day. They must employ a director of nursing, and a qualified charge nurse must be on duty at all times. Intermediate care facilities must employ sufficient staff to provide 2.3 hours of direct daily care per resident, and skilled nursing facilities must provide at least 2.5 hours of direct care.
Training
Certified nursing assistants in New Mexico must complete a state-approved 75-hour training program that includes at least 16 hours of clinical coursework. Additionally, facilities must provide quarterly in-service training and continuing education to all direct-care staff.
Admission Restrictions
Facilities must not admit a person who has or is suspected of having a communicable disease. Admissions restrictions also apply to residents who are abusive, destructive or have a significant mental illness.
Care Planning
Staff members must conduct a preliminary assessment within 48 hours and a comprehensive assessment within 30 days to determine the resident's functional needs. A physician must review the plan of care every 30 days for those in skilled nursing or every 60 days for those who require intermediate care.
Dietary and Nutrition Services
Nursing homes must provide three daily meals plus drinking water and snacks, if supplemental items are appropriate for the resident's diet. Meals must include a variety of ingredients and follow nationally recognized dietary guidelines. Menus should be planned at least two weeks in advance, and facilities must take reasonable measures to accommodate residents' personal preferences and nutritional needs.
Specialized Rehabilitative Services
Long-term care facilities must provide skilled therapeutic services to help residents complete a physician-ordered rehabilitative care plan. Therapists must assess each resident's needs, develop a personalized treatment plan and document the resident's progress.
Medication and Pharmaceutical Services
Facilities must obtain all medications that residents require from a licensed pharmacy. They must employ a qualified pharmacist to review each resident's medication plan at least monthly. These professionals are responsible for recordkeeping and other administrative functions.
Activities Requirements
Nursing homes must provide individual and group activities that accommodate residents' needs and preferences and are appropriate for their plan of care. Recreational activities must be organized by a qualified activities coordinator who has a suitable combination of education and/or training, work experience or on-the-job support.
Infection Control
Long-term care facilities must have written policies and procedures for infection control. Infection control guidelines also apply to specific tasks, such as housekeeping and laundry.
Medicaid Coverage
New Mexico Medicaid covers skilled nursing and other long-term supports through Centennial Care, the state's managed care organization.