Working in Germany as a professor you have mostly the status of a civil servant ("Beamter"). As a civil servant you are not obliged to be insured in the statutory health insurance system (which is the "public" system).
As a civil servant you receive a so-called "Beihilfe" (on top of your salary) which is a benefit for medical treatment. However, the Beihilfe only covers the costs of medical treatment partly. The Beihilfe for civil servants also applies for children and spouses, in case the spouse is not in paid employment whereby she/he has to contribute to the "public" social security system and is accordingly member of a statutory health insurance provider.

In general the Beihilfe covers:

  • 50% of the costs for medical treatments of the civil servant. If the civil servant has two children (at a certain age), the "Beihilfe" covers even 70%
  • 80% of the costs for medical treatment for own children of the civil servant
  • 70% of the cost for medical treatment of the spouses of the civil servant
For the amount the Beihilfe does not cover (accordingly this is between 20-50% of the cost for medical treatment) an additional health insurance has to be obtained. In general civil servants have the choice between a statutory health insurance or a private one. Most civil servants choose a private provider as these often offer more services and are mostly cheaper for civil servants than the statutory providers (this is because they just have to cover the remaining percentage that the Beihilfe does not cover – this is a solution which does not exist for the statutory health insurances). What sounds complicated, is in general a routine procedure – the most private health insurance providers offer customized rates for civil servants.

Nevertheless, the costs of the additional private health insurance are very hard to estimate. The costs depend on:

  • the percentage covered by the Beihilfe
  • the age and pre-existing conditions of the insured person
  • the fact that if the spouse and children need to be insured (for example if the spouse of a civil servant is employed he/she will normally be an obligatory member of a statutory health insurance. In a statutory health insurance children can be insured without additional costs)
  • the health insurance provider
  • the benefits you like to include (e.g. treatment by a senior physician ("Chefarzt"), single room when you need hospital treatment etc.)
The cost for insuring one person varies a lot – some insurance providers have offers on their website starting from €60 a month (that is an example for a newly appointed teacher at the age of 25, who is also civil servant), but usually it is much more expensive.


Tips and advice
  • The experience also shows that different providers vary a lot in their rates and services. To choose a provider, usually a professional adviser is consulted (the consultancy is usually free of charge, as the consultants receive a premium by the health-insurance providers afterwards).

  • You will find general information (in German) about the employment as a civil servant as well as about the Beihilfe on the website of our Human Resources Department.

  • For further information about the Beihilfe as civil servant you can also visit the website of the Administration of the Federal State of Berlin.

Do you have other questions?

If so please contact the International Scholar Services.