If Robert Bowman hadn’t casually mentioned his upcoming 65th birthday to a friend, he might have missed his window to sign up for Medicare.

“He said you better sign up now because there’s a penalty for signing up late. I didn’t know that,” says Bowman, a 65-year-old former tow truck driver who lives in Torrance.

Every day, 10,000 baby boomers — people age 51 to 69 — turn 65 and become eligible for Medicare. According to a recent survey by the Medicare Rights Center in New York, many are unclear about whether and when to sign up for Part B, which covers outpatient medical care, including most doctor visits.

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