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

Financial Assistance for Nursing Home Care in New Mexico

Most people do not pay for skilled nursing care entirely out-of-pocket. Rather, they utilize financial assistance programs to help cover the cost of nursing care. Of public financial assistance programs, Medicaid provides the most comprehensive coverage of nursing home care. But, not all seniors are eligible for Medicaid. And because each state operates its own Medicaid program within federal guidelines, eligibility and benefits vary from state to state. Below, we provide more information on Medicaid in New Mexico.

New Mexico’s Medicaid Program

New Mexico Medicaid provides health insurance and long-term care benefits to approximately 800,000 adults and children. This program serves vulnerable populations, including low-income families, disabled adults and senior citizens. Annually, the program spends more than $5 billion to provide these essential services. Individuals who require nursing home care may qualify for Centennial Care, a managed care organization that provides Medicaid Managed Long Term Services and Supports. Centennial Care covers medical services, behavioral health, long-term care and certain community-based supports through one plan.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, Medicaid covers about 35% of New Mexico’s total population, including about 66% of the state’s 5,800 nursing home residents. Additionally, about half of all Medicaid spending goes toward long-term care, including services provided by the state’s 76 licensed nursing homes. New Mexico also offers several waiver programs that cover similar services provided at home or in a residential setting. These programs are administered by the state’s Aging and Disability Resource Center.

Medicaid Eligibility in New Mexico

Individuals who want to apply for Centennial Care must require a nursing home level of care and meet income and assist limits to qualify. Applicants’ monthly income is capped at 300% of the federal benefit rate, which is approximately $2,382 for individuals or $4,764 for a couple applying jointly. Residents must provide proof of citizenship, complete a needs assessment and meet other requirements. Learn more about Centennial Care Medicaid, or begin the application process online at YesNM or by calling (800) 283-4465.

Alternative Financial Assistance Options

  • Medicare: Medicare will cover the cost of one’s care in a skilled nursing facility for the first 20 days of their stay, and a portion of the costs up until day 100. After 100 days, the individual is responsible for all costs. Seniors must also have a “qualifying hospital stay” of at least 3 days prior to their admission to a nursing home in order to qualify for Medicare coverage.
  • Aid and Attendance: 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: 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. This type of funding can be especially useful for married couples when only one partner needs nursing care, as the other residents of the home may continue living there. Reverse mortgage loans do need to be repaid with interest, typically within 12 months of receiving the loan.
  • Long-Term Care Insurance: Seniors who already have long-term care insurance may be covered for skilled nursing care. Most policies cover at least a portion of the cost of nursing home care, but it depends on the specific policy terms. Note that older adults who are already in need of skilled nursing care will not be eligible to sign up for a LTC insurance policy.

Free and Low-Cost Resources for Seniors in New Mexico

New Mexico offers a variety of services and healthy aging programs geared toward residents aged 60 and older. You can access assistance through the following statewide programs as well as local partners in your city or county.

ResourceContactService
New Mexico Aging & Long-Term Services Department(800) 432-2080The New Mexico Aging & Long-Term Services Department is dedicated to ensuring that older adults and disabled residents are treated with dignity and respect and that they have access to resources that promote healthy aging. The department’s programs help more than 200,000 individuals annually. Many services related to long-term care are provided by the state’s Aging & Disability Resource Center. Delivered meals and related supports are available through four Area Agencies on Aging.
Governor’s Commission on Disability(505) 476-0412This government-sponsored initiative supports a variety of services designed to improve disabled residents’ quality of life. It oversees programs that benefit caregivers, veterans, senior citizens and disabled adults. The commission funds home accessibility modifications such as wheelchair ramps, offers assistive technology and refers residents to government and nonprofit partners.
Legal Resources for the Elderly(800) 876-6657Managed by the New Mexico Bar Association, LREP is a free statewide legal helpline available to seniors aged 55 and older. The center employs five attorneys who focus on senior law, including consumer rights, debt collection, Medicaid/Medicare, Social Security, disability payments, estate planning and guardianship. The program, which assists more than 4,000 seniors annually, also offers legal workshops and self-help publications.
New Mexico Health Care Association(505) 880-1088This industry association provides a wealth of information about the state’s nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Although the organization’s primary function is to support long-term care providers and industry professionals, it also offers a number of consumer resources to help families compare different types of care.
New Mexico Caregivers Coalition(505) 867-6046Since 2008, this nonprofit coalition has represented paid and unpaid caregivers across New Mexico. It engages in state and federal advocacy, hosts caregiver training seminars and conducts background checks on individuals who provide one-on-one assistance. The organization also hosts caregiver support groups and provides resources to help families understand their options.
New Mexico Long-Term Care Ombudsman(866) 451-2901This network of volunteers advocates for nursing home residents statewide. Consumers can contact the ombudsman to learn more about their rights and to address questions or concerns about the care provided by nursing homes or assisted living facilities. Services are free and supported by federal funding.

Nursing Home Laws and Regulations in New Mexico

LicensingIntermediate 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.
StaffingLong-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.
TrainingCertified 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 RestrictionsFacilities 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 PlanningStaff 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 ServicesNursing 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 ServicesLong-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 ServicesFacilities 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 RequirementsNursing 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 ControlLong-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 CoverageNew Mexico Medicaid covers skilled nursing and other long-term supports through Centennial Care, the state’s managed care organization.