Anthem Blue Cross will be introducing a health care shopping information service in 6 counties in California.

Anthem Blue, a unit of WellPoint Inc., Indianapolis, will make the Web-based Care Comparison health care cost database available to 1.8 health plan members in Alameda, Contra Costa, Los Angeles, Santa Clara, San Francisco and San Mateo counties.

The tool helps patients see the total estimated costs associated with 39 specific medical procedures performed at specific local hospitals, Anthem Blue says.

The totals, based on Anthem Blue claims data, include all costs associated with each procedure, such as the lab tests and recovery room charges associated with a heart operation, and not just with the cost of a specific item, Anthem Blue says.

Anthem first began testing the Care Comparison tool in Dayton, Ohio, in September 2006 and is in the process of making the tool available in Indiana, Kentucky and Wisconsin.

Offering the tool in California will make the information available to 8 million additional consumers, Anthem Blue says.