Consumer Reports, a private U.S. consumer watchdog, has issued guidance concerning prices of health costs.

The report by Dr. John Santa, director of the magazine’s Health Ratings Center, suggests being more “open” about your finances before approaching any major surgery and/or elective procedure.

“You went into the hospital for a coronary angiogram and expected to pay a few thousand dollars; now you've been slammed with a $15,000 bill that's way beyond your resources.”

Should the worst happen and you not be able to cover it, Consumer Reports urges patients to sit down with their doctors to see how costs can be limited in the event that your insurance not covering it:

“Don’t assume the price on your bill is set in stone," Santa says, “Providers often discount rates substantially to insurers and others, so why not ask whether you, too, might get a reduced rate?”

The “ideal world” according to Santa, would be where everyone gets to see their doctor well in advance. This allow for both parties to have time to negotiate the best clauses and terms of the procedure, commonly referred to as an “elective.”

This means patients taking time to figure out what commonly occurs within the family, or might be an additional cost later, such as Heart Disease or Diabetes.

“Having a doctor that you have long known will help” says Santa, as they will have a professional obligation to take your circumstances into account, when considering the operation.