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Long-Term Care

Types of Long-Term Care

Long-term care includes different kinds of services for people with a chronic illness or a disability who need help caring for themselves. This can include both medical and non-medical services.

Paying for Long-Term Care

A moth on a dandelion budPaying for long-term care is complex and confusing. It’s a good idea to get help from someone who knows what is available in your state. See “Who can I talk to about long-term care?” below. Or visit this page on Costs & Payment Options for Assisted Living & Home Care by State and click on your state to learn more about how to pay for long-term care.


Original Medicare does not cover most long-term care. While it will cover some medical services provided at home or in a facility, it will not cover any “custodial care,” meaning help with the activities of daily living or medical care that most people do for themselves (like put in eye drops). 

Medicare Advantage plans may cover long-term care. These plans vary widely. Visit this page on Medicare Advantage to learn more about what plans will pay for and how to choose a plan.


Medicaid will cover many kinds of long-term care, although this coverage varies from state to state. 

In New Mexico, Medicaid Long-Term Care can provide nursing home and in-home care for low-income seniors. This coverage is only provided through state-contracted Managed Care Organizations (MCOs) such as Molina, United Health, or Presbyterian, among others, and is not available for individuals enrolled in Medicaid Fee-for-Service. Centennial Care Community Benefit (formerly CoLTS) covers many in-home care services for individuals who are eligible for nursing home care, but who can receive services at home or in an assisted living facility. However, funding for this is limited and there is usually a waiting list. Visit this page on New Mexico Centennial Care Community Benefit to learn more.

If you are not eligible for Medicaid, you may be able to subtract your medical expenses from your income, called “spending down,” to become eligible and gain the long-term care coverage available through Medicaid. This process can be confusing and is not always possible, so it’s a good idea to get help. See “Who can I talk to about long-term care?” below.

Long-Term Care Insurance

This kind of supplemental health insurance can be purchased just like any other private health insurance plan. Long-term care insurance reimburses you a daily amount for services to assist you with activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, or meals. If you are older, in poor health, or are already receiving long-term care services, you may not qualify for some policies, or you may only qualify for limited or more expensive insurance.

To find out exactly what kind of insurance you qualify for and how much it will cost, you will need to apply for a plan. Applying for health insurance can be complicated and confusing, so consider getting in-person assistance. See “Who can I talk to about long-term care?” below.

Indian Health Service

IHS is authorized to provide long-term care to American Indians who need a nursing home level of care; however, IHS does not have dedicated funding to provide this care at IHS facilities. Typically, the IHS will help you to obtain Medicaid, Medicare, or some other form of private insurance to pay for the services you need. Talk to the Benefits Coordinator at your local IHS or Tribal clinic to learn more.

Who Can I Talk to about Long-Term Care?

To enroll in a Medicaid plan or purchase long-term care insurance, you can speak to the Benefits Coordinator at your local IHS or Tribal clinic. You can also speak to a Patient Navigator or insurance broker. In New Mexico, call BeWellNM at (833) 862-3935 or TTY (855) 851-2018 to find one. BeWellNM also has counselors specifically for American Indians; call (855) 241-8137 or visit their office at 6403 Menaul Blvd. NE in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

For help reviewing your options for long-term care, you can speak to a Resource Options Coordinator at the New Mexico Aging and Disability Resource Center. Call (800) 432-2080 or TTY (505) 476-4937. Download this useful planning tool for help exploring your options.

If you have concerns about a long-term care facility in New Mexico, you can live chat online or call the Long-Term Care Ombudman based on where you live in the state:

  • (866) 842-9230 in Albuquerque and Northwestern New Mexico
  • (866) 451-2901 in Santa Fe and Northeastern New Mexico
  • (800) 762-8690 in Las Cruces, Roswell and Southern New Mexico

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