The artists and publicist’s insurance is a public organization, which allows its members to be insured over the public health care system in Germany (Krankenkasse) and save up for their public pension. This insurance is run by an institute which is called Künstlersozialkasse (KSK), which is responsible for managing your insurance, acceptance and processing applications, payment management and payment forwarding to the public insurance providers.
Why is it good for me?
Since Germany is a welfare state, the payment rates for public health care and pension insurance are very high: health care costs depend on your public health care provider. The average costs in Germany is 15.8% from your taxable income. Public pension insurance will cost 18.9% from your income.
Whereas half of this amount is paid by the employer in case you are employed, if you are self-employed, you will have to pay around 34% from your income for those insurances. As a result, many self-employed persons decide not to have those insurances. The artists' insurance allows artists and publicists to enjoy the same conditions as employed workers. Meaning, if you are a member of the KSK, the government will pay half of your health insurance and half of your pension insurance.
Moreover, due to the complexity of the German health insurance law, self-employed persons cannot get accepted for the public insurance, which means in many cases the artists' insurance will be your chance of getting into the public health care system.
Who is it meant for?
Artists and publicists who live and work in Germany and who are self-employed in Germany. Unfortunately, the acceptance for people who work "behind the stage", such as sound engineers and art consultants, might be very complicated up to impossible. The reason for that will be that the purpose of the KSK is to support artists, and that people who deal with the more technical parts of art will not be necessarily recognized as artists or freelancers in Germany. Generally speaking, it is recommended to look at each case individually and to try and estimate your chances of getting accepted into the KSK and your expected monthly payment before applying.
How does one get accepted?
In order to get accepted, you will need to apply and to provide KSK with proofs for the fact that you are active artists, along with proofs of your (paid) work as freelance artists in the past six months. Additionally, you will need to prove a certain income (from artistic activities) in order to get in.
There are rumours that say that tons of paperwork and work are involved in this application. From my experience, if you check your eligibility before applying and know which documents to include and how to fill out the application forms properly, this will not be so much work, and you might have high chances of getting accepted easily.
I don't want this insurance anymore. Can I stop it?
Since this insurance is meant for artists who live and work in Germany, it could get terminated if you will stop working as artists in Germany, meaning: if your occupational situation changes or if you leave Germany. If you continue working as freelancer artists in Germany, leaving the KSK is almost impossible (apart from it not being recommended at all).
I am now employed. Now what?
You have the option of keeping the artists' insurance, as long as you are continuing to freelance as an artist, and as long you maintain a certain yearly income-threshold from your freelance work. In this case, you will continue making pension insurance payments monthly, which will add up to your pension insurance fund. Additionally, it will be easier for you to get back into KSK if your employment gets terminated, and if you decide to continue working as a freelance artist.