It’s known as the “artists health insurance scheme”, the “artists social security fund”, the “Künstlersozialversicherung” and the “artists and publicists’ insurance”. In any case, it can be hard to find information online in English about the Künstlersozialkasse (KSK). We’ve put together a basic introduction with the answers to some very frequently asked questions.
What is the Künstlersozialkasse?
The Künstlersozialkasse is a health insurance scheme that treats artists, performers, publicists, writers, editors and journalists like employees: the scheme pays half of the contributions for your health insurance, pension and long-term care insurance.
The KSK is not an insurance company in its own right – you stick with the statutory insurance provider you already use or you can change it as you see fit, and in certain cases you can choose a private health insurance provider. Being accepted into the KSK can be a way to get into a public health insurance fund if your self-employed activity previously prevented you from doing so.
Do I have to join the KSK if I’m an artist?
In many cases, it’s not a choice – you are both eligible and legally obligated to be in the KSK. But they won’t chase you up about it if you’re not registered and you should be. You can only be insured from the date upon which you submit your application.
I’ve heard it’s hard to get in.
The decision about eligibility is incredibly complex, and the law that governs it is formidable. If the KSK decides you’re ineligible and you think they’re wrong, you can appeal. In any case, it will probably take the better part of a year to get the initial decision.
What is the monthly contribution that I pay to the KSK?
You’ll pay around 18% of your predicted income for the year (= profit before tax) to cover your health insurance, long-term care insurance and pension. It’s done in advance. This means you predict what you’ll earn each year and they base the contributions on your prediction. You can adjust this prediction as the year goes on and you get a better idea of your finances. Yes, plenty of people underestimate what they earn and pay significantly less than what they should. Sometimes they get away with it, sometimes they don’t.
18% of my income seems like a lot. My private contributions are cheaper.
The 18% contribution covers your health insurance, long-term care and your pension. If you were voluntarily insured under statutory health insurance as a freelancer, you would pay ca. 15.8% of your income just for health insurance and another ca. 18.9% of your income for the pension. So being in the KSK is a bargain. Especially if you’re in a profession like music teaching where you are legally obligated to pay into the pension. Plus, if you are privately health-insured, your contributions may increase as you age and don’t include free cover for dependents.
What are the basic criteria to be eligible?
- Your profession has to be recognised as “artistic”. This is complex and requires a lot of supporting documents.
- You have to be earning at least 3,900 Euros per year from your artistic work activities. (If you’re just starting out or don’t always make that amount, that’s OK, there are exceptions.)
- Your self-employment has to be your main activity for earning a living. If self-employment is a part time or a side project for you, you might not be eligible or you might only be eligible for certain parts of the coverage.
- If you have non-artistic work activities as a side project, you can’t earn more than 5,000 Euros per year profit from these.
- You can’t have more than one employee. An employee is someone that you hire to work for you and you make contributions to their social benefits. You can commission as many freelancers as you want to perform work for you, though.
I need help with my application.
Ahhh. That’s my forte. I’m in the Künstlersozialkasse myself and have helped many people with their applications. I can help you make sense of the correspondence along the way. Book a coaching to send in the strongest application you possibly can.
There’s something else I can help you with?