Künstlersozialkasse and Advertising Industry - Do I qualify?

19 posts in this topic

I'm American, immigrating to Berlin this year to further my career as a filmmaker and visual artist. I make experimental films and sculptures ... definitely "artsy" stuff.  My "art" work is serious (I've shown at the Berlinale, museums around the world, etc) but laughable in terms of profit (less than 2500 euro/year). However, I will continue my day job, freelancing as a video editor, mainly for the advertising industry; I report about 50,000euro/year from my advertising work. My hope, over the next few years, is to make more money with my art and spend less time on the advertising.  


I'm 39, fit, no pre-existing conditions. My plan is to start with long-term travel health insurance (Mawista); it's 58 euro/month but has a 5 year limit. But as year 5 gets closer, as my artistic career hopefully becomes more profitable and I build roots in Germany, I'll apply to KSK. If my art career doesn't work out, I would probably leave Germany.

1) Does my work in the ad industry make me an artist in eyes of KSK? I'm hoping the answer is "no," so I can justify not applying to KSK immediately.  I would go from paying 58 euro/month to 740 euro/month (pension plus health); my future in Germany is uncertain, so I'm not especially keen to dump a lot of money into the pension system. The ad stuff is creative, but not really "cultural."  On the other hand, I see jobs like Web Designer listed as acceptable to KSK. Are we talking about avant-garde web designers or the guy who works on the Gap website? 

2) Back payments ... With the career transition I've described, how will this affect back payments when I get on KSK?  Will I have to pay pension and public insurance contributions dating back to my arrival in Germany?  Or just back to when I applied for KSK?  Can I argue that I was not a professional artist but later became one, whereupon I applied to KSK? A friend has told me that KSK doesn't supply the insurance, just 50% subsidy for buying into a public plan. Therefore, it's not up to KSK whether I have to do the back payments. Regardless, will I have to do back payments, and how much?  

3) Complicating matters ... my main collaborator in the artsy stuff is my wife. She does not have a day job. So she could apply to KSK immediately. Or she could get the travel insurance too, and we can apply together in a few years. What are implications for her of applying now vs later? 

4) We have a 3-year-old son. If I'm on Mawista travel insurance and she's on KSK, would he be covered through her insurance?  
 

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18 hours ago, SteveHarris said:

I'm American, immigrating to Berlin this year to further my career as a filmmaker and visual artist.

 

Quote

My plan is to start with long-term travel health insurance (Mawista); it's 58 euro/month but has a 5 year limit. But as year 5 gets closer, as my artistic career hopefully becomes more profitable and I build roots in Germany, I'll apply to KSK. If my art career doesn't work out, I would probably leave Germany.

 

Quote

3) Complicating matters ... my main collaborator in the artsy stuff is my wife. She does not have a day job. So she could apply to KSK immediately. Or she could get the travel insurance too, and we can apply together in a few years. What are implications for her of applying now vs later? 


4) We have a 3-year-old son. If I'm on Mawista travel insurance and she's on KSK, would he be covered through her insurance?  
 

 

Considering that it is highly unlikely that you, your wife, and child will all be issued residence permits with only Mawista travel insurance in Berlin, I find your questions to be moot.

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19 hours ago, SteveHarris said:

I'm American, immigrating to Berlin this year to further my career as a filmmaker and visual artist. I make experimental films and sculptures ... definitely "artsy" stuff.  My "art" work is serious (I've shown at the Berlinale, museums around the world, etc) but laughable in terms of profit (less than 2500 euro/year). However, I will continue my day job, freelancing as a video editor, mainly for the advertising industry; I report about 50,000euro/year from my advertising work. My hope, over the next few years, is to make more money with my art and spend less time on the advertising.  


I'm 39, fit, no pre-existing conditions. My plan is to start with long-term travel health insurance (Mawista); it's 58 euro/month but has a 5 year limit. But as year 5 gets closer, as my artistic career hopefully becomes more profitable and I build roots in Germany, I'll apply to KSK. If my art career doesn't work out, I would probably leave Germany.

1) Does my work in the ad industry make me an artist in eyes of KSK? I'm hoping the answer is "no," so I can justify not applying to KSK immediately.  I would go from paying 58 euro/month to 740 euro/month (pension plus health); my future in Germany is uncertain, so I'm not especially keen to dump a lot of money into the pension system. The ad stuff is creative, but not really "cultural."  On the other hand, I see jobs like Web Designer listed as acceptable to KSK. Are we talking about avant-garde web designers or the guy who works on the Gap website? 

2) Back payments ... With the career transition I've described, how will this affect back payments when I get on KSK?  Will I have to pay pension and public insurance contributions dating back to my arrival in Germany?  Or just back to when I applied for KSK?  Can I argue that I was not a professional artist but later became one, whereupon I applied to KSK? A friend has told me that KSK doesn't supply the insurance, just 50% subsidy for buying into a public plan. Therefore, it's not up to KSK whether I have to do the back payments. Regardless, will I have to do back payments, and how much?  

3) Complicating matters ... my main collaborator in the artsy stuff is my wife. She does not have a day job. So she could apply to KSK immediately. Or she could get the travel insurance too, and we can apply together in a few years. What are implications for her of applying now vs later? 

4) We have a 3-year-old son. If I'm on Mawista travel insurance and she's on KSK, would he be covered through her insurance?  
 

https://bmkb.de/en/ksk-2/

Why not make a phone call before you move to Germany and find out more about your eligibility? It might save you heartbreak later...

I am a professional independent insurance broker and authorised advertiser. Contact me.
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5 hours ago, engelchen said:

Sorry, I forgot to mention. My wife is an EU citizen. 
 

Considering that it is highly unlikely that you, your wife, and child will all be issued residence permits with only Mawista travel insurance in Berlin, I find your questions to be moot.

 

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As to whether you qualify for KSK, as I understand it, the answer would be a resounding "no". The main requirement for KSK eligibility is that you generate at least half of your income through your artistic activities, as opposed to your commercial work. From your above statements, you're way off that target.

 

I'd be wary of going the Mawista route, because it's meant for temporary stays (which is why it's so cheap - they don't expect you to get old and infirm under their policies) and it sounds like you intend to stay here for the long term. You could be hit with back charges at some point. Moreover, AFAIK Mawista does not satisfy the statutory requirement for nursing care (Pflege) insurance. I may be wrong there, however.

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Haha, in my situation Obamacare in New York City is waaaaaay cheaper than German system.  I currently pay 60USD per month for my whole family, for good coverage. Through healthcare exchanges I can compare dozens of plans with a click and take my pick. Also no insurance companies are allowed to preclude pre-existing conditions. Of course if Trump has his way that could change. 

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1 hour ago, El Jeffo said:

I wrote to bmkb lady that John G. recommended and she said I should qualify for KSK.  I think I'm going to pay for a full-on consult with her. We'll see!  

 

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"Publizist"  is one of the professions that make you eligible for the KSK. Maybe they will accept you under your advertising work. I am a desktop publisher  and graphic designer for banks and business consultants and not all of what I do is particularly creative--most of it is just prettifying PowerPoint presentations--and I got accepted in the KSK. I would apply anway.

 

 
 
 
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6 minutes ago, SteveHarris said:

Haha, in my situation Obamacare in New York City is waaaaaay cheaper than German system.  I currently pay 60USD per month for my whole family.  Also no insurance companies are allowed to preclude no pre-existing conditions.

 

In that case, I can't see how it makes sense for you to move the whole family to Berlin. You'd pay higher insurance premiums, higher social contributions and more tax, and would almost most certainly make less money than in New York.

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5 minutes ago, SteveHarris said:

I currently pay 60USD per month for my whole family, for good coverage.

 

How much is your deductible for each person and how much are your co-pays for seeing doctors, hospital visits, tests, etc.? 

 

I'm really interested because AFAIK, I could never afford health care should I want to move back over there. My best friend is a single mom and she has a $7k deductible each year for her AND for her 11 yr. old daughter. She's paying a lot more than you but she is in another state.

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9 minutes ago, SteveHarris said:

I wrote to bmkb lady that John G. recommended and she said I should qualify for KSK.  I think I'm going to pay for a full-on consult with her. We'll see!

 

Cool. I'm just telling you my personal experience - my wife is in the KSK and that's what they told her. YMMV.

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18 minutes ago, SteveHarris said:

Haha, in my situation Obamacare in New York City is waaaaaay cheaper than German system.  I currently pay 60USD per month for my whole family, for good coverage.

 

Why would you want to move here!?!?

 

Germany has much higher taxes and you're disposable income would be significantly lower here. Being self-employed here is not easy for many reasons and makes little sense for someone in your situation. 

 

 

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2 hours ago, El Jeffo said:

As to whether you qualify for KSK, as I understand it, the answer would be a resounding "no". T

 

He works mainly as a video editor for the advertising industry and what I see in freelancer colleagues in this area, most of them make it into the KSK. 

 

He hopes in the first post that he is not a case for KSK, but in my eyes that would be the best thing that could happen to him. 

 

23 minutes ago, engelchen said:

 

Why would you want to move here!?!?

 

 

 

To advance his artistic career. ;) I understand that Berlin seems attractive - on the other hand, if you come from New York ...

Berlin just runs over with artists from all over the world. Most people can hardly make a living from their art, but somehow the attraction seems unbroken. 

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If you eventually wanted to retire back in the U.S., I'm guessing you could get Medicare, which is free?  Here's our plan, it's a subsidized option that's a step above Medicaid. $20/month/person. 0 deductible, co-pays $25 - $50 for most stuff. https://info.nystateofhealth.ny.gov/essentialplan

It's funded by the state but administrated by private insurers.  In my case, anywhere that accepts Empire BlueCross BlueShield works for us. At the time I applied, my income was right at the limit; they only verify income once per year, based on last three months earnings. When my wife was pregnant, our income was higher, so we were on a Silver Plan (also subsidized by the state, about $320 per month for our family). And as for your friend, yeah, I think it varies vastly by state and by each person's income. 
 

3 hours ago, fraufruit said:

How much is your deductible for each person and how much are your co-pays for seeing doctors, hospital visits, tests, etc.? 

 

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Thanks. She makes about $45k per year and is in S.C. I have to get a lot of screenings and such so the co-pays would kill me. Looks like a good deal if you and your family are healthy but anything can happen.

 

OK. Back on topic.:rolleyes:

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Re: why would I move to Germany?!!  I've already spent a couple years as a "digital nomad", living abroad while freelancing remotely for my clients in U.S. They don't really care where I am. So I'll just continue working for them, making the same amount of money. And hopefully develop my artistic career too. : ) Compared to my hometown of NYC, Berlin offers vastly cheaper rent (1/3 the cost), cheaper childcare (free vs $1000+/month), cheaper groceries, and a great artist community with gov't support.

 
Oh yeah, and it's an amazing adventure! 

But yeah, I'm gathering my taxes are gonna be higher and this health insurance thing is a headscratcher. : ) I really appreciate everyone chiming in, I feel like I'm hanging out at the bar with a bunch of expats.

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10 minutes ago, SteveHarris said:

Re: why would I move to Germany?!!  I've already spent a couple years as a "digital nomad", living abroad while freelancing remotely for my clients in U.S. They don't really care where I am. So I'll just continue working for them, making the same amount of money. And hopefully develop my artistic career too. : ) Compared to my hometown of NYC, Berlin offers vastly cheaper rent (1/3 the cost), cheaper childcare (free vs $1000+/month), cheaper groceries, and a great artist community with gov't support.  But yeah, I'm gathering my taxes are gonna be higher and this health insurance thing is a headscratcher. : ) I really appreciate everyone chiming in, I feel like I'm hanging out at the bar with a bunch of expats.

Just to chip in with some good news- health insurance is highly tax deductible in Germany! Both public and private insurance!

I have, by the way, seen your email to me and will try to reply in detail tomorrow-ish!

I am a professional independent insurance broker and authorised advertiser. Contact me.
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On 4/13/2019, 12:38:45, john g. said:

Just to chip in with some good news- health insurance is highly tax deductible in Germany! Both public and private insurance!

I have, by the way, seen your email to me and will try to reply in detail tomorrow-ish!

I am a professional independent insurance broker and authorised advertiser. Contact me.

I did not realize that public insurance is tax deductible. Is deductibility subject to income limitations? Where can one go to find out information on this topic?

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https://www.gunnpartner.com/articles/Citizens-Relief-Act-2010

 

Very dated article and I am not a tax specialist!  But anyway..another problem..the picture of the guy ( a friend ) needs changing---he is with his ex-ex-ex-girlfriend!

:D

More organised but in German:

https://www.krankenkassenzentrale.de/wiki/buergerentlastungsgesetz#

I am a professional independent insurance broker and authorised advertiser. Contact me.
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